Business West becomes carbon neutral and commits to net zero carbon emissions by 2030

21st December 2020

South West England’s largest and most influential business organisation, Business West, which represents some 23,000 businesses across the region, today (21 December) announced its commitment to safeguarding the environment and addressing the climate crisis - the first Chamber of Commerce in the UK to do so. The company is carbon neutral and aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

In order to meet this ambitious target, Business West has issued a climate change position statement, which outlines three concrete steps towards reducing Scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions and accelerating the decarbonisation of business activity across the region:

• Reducing direct and indirect carbon emissions – Business West has developed a plan to reduce its emissions. They have already started sourcing their electricity from renewable sources through Ecotricity and have put in place many measures to reduce carbon emissions which includes: installing voltage optimisation at head office, installing LED lighting, and more energy efficient equipment to reduce electricity demand, zoned heating controls and improved insulation to reduce heating demand. Business West’s remaining emissions are balanced using Gold Standard Verified Emission offsets.

• Engaging business - Business West is committed to supporting its members and the wider business community to make a ‘just transition’ on their journey towards net zero and climate resilience, while enhancing and protecting natural assets globally.

• Accelerating the region – Business West is deepening its commitment to working with stakeholders on transitioning the region to meet net zero targets and achieving a climate and nature resilient economy and place.

Iain Wolsey is the Chairman of Business West and assumes overall responsibility for setting the organisation’s governance standards, including its social and environmental responsibilities. He comments:

“Climate change is a defining issue of our time and it is Business West’s view that business can make a pivotal contribution towards the rapid transitions required to overcome the challenges that it poses.

“Far from being the sole preserve of scientists and activists, climate change is now a mainstream business issue. There can be no prosperous future generated at the expense of the environment - businesses must act now.

“We at Business West recognise the importance of taking immediate action to tackle climate change, both in terms of our own operations and as a beacon for the local business community.

“As a leadership and membership organisation that supports 23,000 businesses across the South West, we are an organisation with the scale and influence to support and challenge the business community to prepare and adapt to meet the challenges of climate change.

“Today’s (21 December) publication of the Business West Climate Statement therefore serves as public record of our commitment to tackling climate change and aiding the transition to a sustainable and resilient local economy.”

One of the key architects behind Business West’s Climate Statement is Initiative Manager Nina Skubala, who in 2015 acted as Vice Chair of Bristol Green Capital Partnership and spearheaded Bristol’s successful European Green Capital bid. She comments:

“This statement firms up and builds upon our existing environmental commitments as cosignatories of the International Chambers of Commerce Chamber Climate Coalition and adherents to the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System.

“We developed this statement by working in close consultation with staff, members and partners. We have also formed a Climate Advisory Group, made up of business and community leaders from organisations including Jacobs, Arup and Bristol Green Capital Partnership to leave no stone unturned in formulating our response to climate change.

“The result is a comprehensive organisational framework which takes account of the need to prioritise carbon reduction and offset carefully using verified schemes which support the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It also recognises the important role that Business West plays in the local business eco-system, and its duty to challenge and support local businesses to take action.

“As a values-led organisation, we are clear that this statement represents a firm and ongoing commitment to tackling climate change for future generations and is not simply posturing. Reflective of our intentions, this statement will be enshrined as part of our B Corp accreditation status to help us monitor our progress toward our goal of net zero carbon by 2030, but also to hold us accountable to ourselves and the business community that we serve.”

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