Tips to make your trades business more sustainable

Tips to make your trades business more sustainable

New research from BigChange has revealed that one in five Brits (20%) will only hire tradespeople who have clear environmental initiatives, highlighting the importance of businesses being green.

An additional one in three respondents (31%) said that they prefer to hire trades businesses which are supporting the country’s green policies, but it’s not essential.

To help small-medium trades businesses get started on the path to sustainability, or take existing green initiatives further, Dan Briggs, Sustainability Board Member at BigChange, shares six tips for making the change and finding funding to help you do it.

  1. Look for local sustainability support from your council 

“Most local councils have their own growth hub, providing local businesses with useful resources, including any available grants or funding for green initiatives in their area. This is particularly useful when UK-wide funding applications are closed,” Dan advises.

“An example of this is in the Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Telford, Shropshire and Wrekin areas. Businesses could be eligible for the Business Energy Efficiency Programme, which supports them in reducing their carbon emissions. This includes funding for energy efficient support, such as heating and insulation, LED lights as well as recycling and waste reduction services.

“Head to your local growth hub website to find out if help like this is available in your area. They will also have lots of resources to help you go green.”

  1. Consider banks as a source of funding for eco investment  

“If having a clear green initiative is important to you and your business, you may be prepared to invest in becoming greener.

“If that’s the case, many banks such as Barclays, NatWest and Lloyds Bank offer finance loans for businesses for this exact reason, and usually at a discounted rate.

“When it comes to eligibility and help provided, these loans can be used to help improve water efficiency, provide low carbon transport and reduce business waste.”

  1. Take advantage of tax breaks such as capital allowances 

“It’s in the government’s best interest to encourage greener business practices, meaning there are tax breaks available to businesses.

“For example, if you opt for energy-efficient technologies such as machinery for your business, you can claim capital allowances, reducing the amount of tax you pay throughout the year.”

  1. Look for suppliers who share your green focus

“Sustainable or green procurement is the act of sourcing goods or services for your business which reduces the impact on the environment. For example, if you switch to machinery that is more energy efficient, that is, electric fleets over standard vehicles, this would fall under this initiative.

“That’s not to say you should instantly swap though, as that isn’t environmentally friendly in itself, and of course it can be expensive. But, phasing them out as new vehicles are required would contribute to the initiative. As the UK continues on its pledge of zero emissions by 2050, access to electric vehicles will hopefully become more accessible and affordable for businesses too.”

  1. Utilise technology to make your business more efficient

“With many trades businesses starting out as a solo venture, it can be easy to forget about the tech solutions available. Not only can these solutions help you manage your business as it grows, they can help increase efficiencies and boost green initiatives.

For example, job management software will allow you to optimise travel routes and encourage good driving practices, ultimately reducing both your fuel costs and emissions.

Job management tools can also mean your business sees more first time fixes through job tracking and automation, meaning less repeat travel to jobs and therefore less emissions and fuel costs.”

  1. Arrange an energy audit to identify where your business could be more eco friendly 

“If you want to make your business more energy efficient, but you’re unsure how to approach it, organise an energy audit to identify potential changes you can make.

“Energy audits are best suited to those businesses with a base or warehouse and include an auditor who comes to spend a day or so with your business in order to observe any potential energy cuts that can be made. They’ll then provide a full report and advice on how to proceed with the suggestions.”

Dan concludes, “Regardless of which green initiatives or pledges your business makes, it’s vital that your customers know about your environmental efforts. As our research shows, it could be the deciding factor for securing your next job.

“Environmentally conscious businesses can obtain the Green Mark, which is a recognised accreditation and provides the marketing tools needed to showcase your business’s commitment to a more sustainable UK.”

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