Apply for a 70% discount on your business rates bill by joining the Go Green Scheme.

The London Borough of Sutton created the Green Enterprise Partnership (GEP) for businesses in Sutton. The GEP aims to help businesses thrive while also helping them to take advantage of the benefits of the sustainability agenda, such as reduced energy bills and increased customer engagement.

Go Green Scheme

Through the ‘Go Green Scheme’, participating businesses benefit from a 70% discount on their business rates bill. Participating businesses will receive a 100% discount on their business rates bills with 30% of this discount retained by the GEP as a partnership fee. This arrangement results in an effective 70% reduction in the business rates bills.

There are no upfront or later costs associated with joining the scheme.

Businesses should continue paying their business rates as usual. Once they qualify, the London Borough of Sutton will reimburse the business rates paid, minus the 30% partnership fee. For more information on this, please consult the 'Paying the Annual Partnership Fee and Accessing Business Rates Discounts' section below.

How to qualify

To qualify for business rates discounts, businesses must achieve a Green Mark accreditation provided for free for businesses participating in the scheme. This accreditation helps businesses to:

  • understand their environmental impact
  • take easy steps to reduce their environmental impact
  • communicate their sustainability efforts to their customers

Accredited businesses will be awarded badges which can be displayed on shop windows or websites, providing a visible and recognisable symbol of their work and commitment to reducing their environmental impact.

How to apply

The scheme will close for applications at 11:59pm on Monday 2 October, or earlier if demand exceeds the funding which is available.

Please read all the following information carefully before applying. Businesses must meet all criteria set out to qualify. Submitting an application or meeting the criteria does not guarantee acceptance into the scheme. By applying, you accept all aspects of this guidance. 

apply now

Green Mark

Green Mark’s sustainability accreditation team combines a user-friendly framework via an online portal with support from a specialist support team, to guide businesses on their sustainability journeys.

These businesses will adopt our framework to drive ongoing efficiency and foster a sustainable business culture across their operations. By joining the 'Go Green Scheme' and obtaining Green Mark Accreditation, businesses can achieve their sustainability goals whilst complying with local council requirements.

By achieving all three steps to full accreditation, a business reaches the equivalent of ISO 14001 in government procurement frameworks. As little as one hour per week over 12 weeks can make you a sustainability champion.

Find out more about Green Mark on their website.


This timeline is subject to change, depending on the number of applications received. The London Borough of Sutton reserves the right to close applications earlier if demand is significantly high.

  • Applications open: 4 September 2023
  • Applications close: 2 October 2023
  • Applications assessed: 3 October 2023 to 6 October 2023
  • Successful applications notified and agreements between business and the Green Enterprise Partnership shared: w/c 9 October 2023


The Green Enterprise Partnership’s ‘Go Green Scheme’ is open to businesses based in a non-domestic property in the London Borough of Sutton with a rateable value below £100,000 at the time of application.

Businesses that don't pay business rates (either because they are exempt as small business or because their rates are included in their rent) are eligible to join the scheme as long as the premises they occupy have a rateable value below £100,000. While these businesses may not be eligible for business rates discounts, they can still participate in the scheme and obtain Green Mark Accreditation for free.

Businesses that benefit from the Government's '2023/24 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme' are eligible to participate in the 'Go Green Scheme'. For these businesses, the business rates discount provided by the 'Go Green Scheme' will be applied after the government's relief has been applied, resulting in a final bill reduction of 92.5%.

Businesses that receive other forms of relief, such as 'Charitable Rate Relief' or 'Small Business Rate Relief', are also eligible to join the 'Go Green Scheme'. The business rates discount offered by the 'Go Green Scheme' will be applied after any other applicable relief(s) have been applied. The actual reduction in the final bill will depend on the specific type of relief(s) that the business is receiving.

For more information on how the business rates discount under the 'Go Green Scheme' and the annual partnership fee are calculated, please see the 'Annual Partnership Fee' section available in the drop-down menu.

Businesses must have appropriate licences, certification and be operating in accordance with industry or government regulations, and will not be considered if they are in breach of any contraventions.

Businesses must be trading either at the point of application, or when a business rates discount award is made. Business must not be in administration, insolvent, dormant, have applied to be removed from Companies House or have had a striking-off notice made, either at the point of application, or when a business rates discount award is made. Your Confirmation Statement and Accounts must not be overdue at Companies House at the point of application or prior to receiving a business rates discount.

The ‘Go Green Scheme’ is subject to the Minimal Financial Assistance (MFA) limits under the Subsidy Control Act 2022. Therefore, to be eligible you must not have exceeded the MFA limit of £315,000 over 3 years (consisting of the current financial year and the 2 previous financial years). MFA subsidies cumulate with each other and with other subsidies that fall within the category of ‘Minimal or Services of Public Economic Interest (SPEI) financial assistance’. The Government's Expanded Retail Discount granted in 2021/22 does not count towards the £315,000 allowance but Covid Business Grants received from the London Borough of Sutton and any other subsidies claimed under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance limit of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement should be counted.

Selection Criteria

As the budget is limited, the Green Enterprise Partnership will select eligible businesses from bands within the rateable valuable range, as outlined in Table 1. 

This will ensure a fair distribution of businesses across the rateable value range and enable the initiative to remain within the allocated budget.

Please note that the table is a guide only, and the London Borough of Sutton may adjust the quotas for each band to accommodate the scheme's budget.

Table 1: Number of Wave 2 places available per band within the rateable value range and eligibility to the Government's ‘2023/24 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme.

Band Rateable Value Number of available places for business benefiting from the Government's ‘2023/24 RHL Relief Scheme’ Number of available places for business in any other sectors
1 Under £12,000 15 10
2 From £12,001 to £15,000 7 3
3 From £15,001 to £20,000 12 4
4 From £20,001 to £30,000 19 3
5 From £30,001 to £40,000 8 1
6 From £40,001 to £50,000 2 1
7 From £50,001 to £60,000 2 1
8 From £60,001 to £70,000 1 1
9 From £70,001 to £100,000 1 1


If the number of eligible applicants exceeds the number of available places in a certain band, a points-based criteria will be used to weigh and select businesses to join the ‘Go Green Scheme’.

The points-based criteria will prioritise:

  • Businesses delivering social value as they have a demonstrated commitment to supporting and benefiting the community in which they operate.
  • Long-established businesses in the borough due to their established contribution to the local community and economy.
  • Businesses based within Sutton Business Improvement District (Successful Sutton BID) area to support the regeneration goals of the London Borough of Sutton for the town centre.

Points based criteria for selecting businesses to join the 'Go Green Scheme'

This criteria will be used if the number of eligible applicants exceeds the number of available places in a certain band.

Given the limited number of places available, eligible businesses applying to join the ‘Go Green Scheme’ may not be successful in their application.

Business delivering social value (up to 10 points)

  • Currently employing Sutton residents? (2 points)
  • Currently paying at least the London Living Wage of £11.95 per hour to all your staff (including apprentices and temporary staff)? (2 points)
  • Currently offering apprenticeships or employing people with greater barriers to work (such as those with experience of care; people with learning disabilities and/other disabilities; or people who were unemployed / out of work before you recruited them)? (2 points)
  • Currently offering work experience or working with schools/colleges to support careers activities? (2 points)
  • Currently creating an inclusive place for everyone by promoting equality and inclusion and providing support for our young people, families, older people, and vulnerable residents. (2 points)
  • Currently promoting healthy and active lifestyles among employees, such as offering a cycle-to-work scheme (2 points)

Number of years that a business has occupied a rateable premise in the London Borough of Sutton (up to 10 points)

  • 1 point per full year since occupying a ratable permise in the London Borough of Sutton to a maximum of 10 points.

Business currently located within the Sutton Business Improvement District (Successful Sutton BID) (up to 10 points)

  • 10 points for business currently located within Successful Sutton BID

If funding remains following this application round, the London Borough of Sutton may choose to reopen applications for the ‘Go Green Scheme’, potentially with varied eligibility criteria or priorities.

Why you should join the Go Green Scheme

There is a strong case for businesses to ‘Go Green’ and adopt sustainable practices. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Cost savings: implementing sustainable practices can help businesses reduce costs associated with energy, water, and waste management, which can lead to significant cost savings in the long-term
  2. Increased competitiveness: taking action to improve environmental credentials can help a business to stand out from its competitors, especially as more and more consumers are looking for socially and environmentally responsible companies
  3. Improved reputation and brand image: being seen as a sustainable business can enhance a business's reputation and brand image, which can attract new customers and partners
  4. Risk reduction: engaging in sustainability can help businesses to identify and mitigate potential risks such as supply chain disruptions, reputation damage, and increased regulations
  5. Employee engagement and retention: sustainability can help to engage and retain employees by creating a sense of purpose and shared values within the business
  6. Innovation: improving environmental credentials can drive innovation by pushing businesses to find new and more efficient ways to operate
  7. Compliance with regulations: in a world in which environmental protection is gaining momentum, engaging in sustainability can help businesses to stay ahead of the curve in terms of environmental regulations.
  8. Positive impact on the environment and society: sustainability can help to future proof your businesses and create a more sustainable future for you and the planet.

However, in face of the cost of living crisis and the economic conditions created by the Covid pandemic, many businesses are facing challenges in covering their ongoing fixed costs, which may lead to a lack of resources and expertise to adopt sustainable practices.

To address this, the 'Go Green Scheme' was created to offer businesses both support and financial incentives, removing obstacles to adopting sustainable practices.

As businesses progress through the 'Go Green Scheme' and achieve the Green Mark accreditation, they qualify for up to 2 years of 70% effective discount on their business rates bill.

Businesses are expected to invest as little as 1 hour per week over a 12-week period each year to achieve accreditation and qualify for business rates discounts.

We understand that making changes to your business can be challenging. That’s why we teamed up with Green Mark to provide personalised 1-on-1 support each step of the way. This support system aims to help businesses overcome any challenges and successfully obtain an environmental accreditation.

This approach allows businesses to gradually improve their environmental credentials and experience financial benefits as they achieve accreditation. The 4 steps that businesses are expected to complete over two years are set out in Table 2 below.

Table 2: Green Enterprise Partnership 4-step certification scheme

Step Standard Milestone Rate discount
1. Commit Member Join the partnership by committing to halve emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero before 2050 None
2. Assess Bronze Measure carbon footprint and environmental impact, and set emissions reduction baseline None
3. Plan Silver Have strategies in place to halve emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero before 2050 100% FY 2023-24
4. Reduce Gold Implement emission reduction strategies and reduce at least 5% of carbon footprint annually 100% FY 2024-25

The ‘Go Green Scheme’ provides a way for businesses to become more sustainable and showcase their commitment and work to reduce their environmental impact.

Each step of the Green Enterprise Partnership certification scheme is described below.

  • Commit: involves making a commitment to halve emissions by 2030 and achieve net-zero before 2050. This step ensures that businesses understand the importance of reducing their carbon footprint and are willing to take action towards this goal.
  • Asses: requires businesses to measure their carbon footprint and environmental impact. This step helps businesses understand the sources of their emissions and identify areas where they can reduce their impact.
  • Plan: involves developing reduction strategies. This step requires businesses to develop a plan to reduce their emissions, such as improving energy efficiency, adopting renewable energy sources, or reducing waste.
  • Reduce: requires verifying and reporting progress. This step ensures that businesses are implementing their plan and reducing emissions.

To access discounts in year 1 (FY 23/24). businesses must commit to halve their emission by 2030 and achieve net-zero before 2050, measure their carbon baseline and environmental impact and develop a climate action plan. By the end of this process, businesses will achieve Green Mark accreditation.

To access discounts in year 2 (FY 24/25), businesses will enter a competitive process and will be required to demonstrate a 5% per year reduction in their emissions, in line with the latest science to limit global heating to 1.5 °C. The criteria for the competitive process in year 2 will be published in advance. By demonstrating emissions reductions business will achieve an upper level of Green Mark accreditation.

Businesses must meet the specific standards set out in the Green Enterprise Partnership 4-step certification scheme to qualify for the business rates discounts.

Annual Partnership Fee

  • The ‘Go Green Scheme’ discount and partnership fee is always calculated after mandatory and other discretionary relief(s) have been applied. Please see examples below.
  • To participate in the 'Go Green Scheme', businesses must pay an annual partnership fee before they can receive a discount on their business rates. The partnership fee is calculated to be 30% of the net business rates liability, which will effectively reduce the business rates by 70%.
  • Please note that there are no upfront fees or additional fees for businesses to pay. The 30% business rate payable is converted to the GEP fee.

Example 1: Premise with a rateable value of £40,000

Gross rates = £40,000 x 0.499:

= £19,960

Partnership Fee (30%), 19,960 x 0.30

= £5,988

Effective ‘Go Green Scheme’ discount (70%), £19,960 x 0.70

= -£13,972

Example 2: Premise benefiting from Government's ‘2023/24 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme’ with a rateable value of £60,000

Gross rates (before any reliefs) = £60,000 x 0.512: = £30,720
RHL Relief Discount (75%), £30,730 x 0.75 = -£23,040
Net rates (after RHL Relief Discount)   = £7,680
Partnership Fee (30%), 7,680 x 0.30 = £2,2304
Effective ‘Go Green Scheme’ discount (70%), £7,680 x 0.70 = -£5,376

Example 3: Premise benefiting from the ‘Charitable Rate Relief’ with a rateable value of £80,000

Gross rates (before any reliefs) = £80,000 x 0.512: = £40,960
Charitable Relief Discount (80%), £40,960 x 0.80 = -£32,768
Net rates (after Charitable Relief Discount)

= £8,192

Partnership Fee (30%), £8,192 x 0.30

 = £2,457.6

Effective ‘Go Green Scheme’ discount (70%), £8,192 x 0.70  = -£5,734.4

The annual partnership fee will ensure the initiative is resourced to provide technical assistance to business throughout the duration of the pilot scheme and that there are control mechanisms in place to prevent misuse of the scheme.

Paying the annual partnership fee and accessing business rates discounts

  • To access the ‘Go Green Scheme’ discounts businesses must contribute with a partnership fee equivalent to 30% of their net business rates liability as set out in this guidance.
  • Participant businesses should continue to pay their business rates as per their agreed payment plan until they qualify for the business rates discount as outlined in this guidance.  If by the time a business reaches the milestones in which they qualify for business rates discounts and they have paid more than 30% of their business rates bill, any overpaid business rates will be refunded.
  • If a businesses have not paid 30% of their business rates bill by the time they reach the milestone in which they qualify for business rates discounts, their award of business rates discounts will be postponed until they have paid at least 30% of the business rates bill. Any overpaid business rates will be refunded.
  • Failure to contribute with the partnership fee will prevent businesses from accessing business rates discounts and may result in the business exclusion from the ‘Go Green Scheme’.
  • Strategies to reduce emissions and reported emissions reduction will be reviewed and validated by our partner organisations before any discounts are awarded.

Monitoring and Evaluation

In order to monitor the effectiveness of the ‘Go Green Scheme’, participant businesses will be required to share information on their environmental and economic performance. This includes:

  • Economic: variance in turnover, gross profit as a percentage of turnover, labour turnover and headcount.
  • Environmental: nominal and percentage emissions reduction in scopes 1 (operations) and 2 (energy) and 3 (supply chain).

This data will be collected from businesses at the point they qualify for a business rate discount. Awards will only be granted if participating businesses share the required information for monitoring and evaluation purposes and agree to supply the same information periodically so that the Green Enterprise Partnership can measure the impact of the pilot scheme against expected outcomes.

Your data will be held, processed and retained securely by the London Borough of Sutton as required by the Data Protection Act 1998 and General Data Protection Regulation 2016 (GDPR). It will be shared with other teams across the Council and third parties for the purpose of assessing, verifying and processing your application, reporting, responding to statutory requests and for the detection and prevention of fraud and error, and not to use it for any other purposes. The London Borough of Sutton’s full privacy notice is available at

Further information

The London Borough of Sutton reserves the right to vary the terms of the ‘Go Green Scheme’ and amend the guidance at any time, and without notice, should it be necessary to do so, including to ensure compliance with Government guidance. All business rates discounts are provided at the discretion of the London Borough of Sutton.

Under the Local Government Finance Act 1988 there is no right of appeal against the Council’s use of discretionary powers. However, the London borough of Sutton will accept a ratepayer’s written request for a further review of the decision if the applicant has concerns that the decision has not been made within the framework set out in this guidance.

Prior to receiving any business rates discounts, it is a requirement for businesses to provide written confirmation that they will not exceed the Minimal Financial Assistance (MFA) limit of £315,000 over a period of 3 years as specified in section 36 (1) of the Subsidy Control Act 2022. For more information, visit GOV.UK - UK subsidy control regime.

The person completing the application must have authority to act on behalf of the business that the application is being submitted for. If you are a limited company (or similar) and are not named as a Director or person with significant control on Companies House you must provide contact details of a Director on request and confirmation they have approved the application. In certain scenarios we may ask for evidence of this authority.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the business that the application is being submitted for has the appropriate licences, certification and be operating in accordance with industry or government regulations throughout the duration of the scheme.

The development of the Green Enterprise Partnership and the ‘Go Green Scheme’ was funded by the Mayor of London’s High Streets for All Challenge. Supported by the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP), the Challenge is a key programme in the London Recovery Board. It provides enabling funding to inspire and help form partnerships, prepare strategies, propose projects and test their effectiveness. The Challenge supports local engagement and promotes a culture of ideas, experimentation and invention and builds a pipeline of schemes for future investment opportunities.

If you would like to work with schools/colleges to support careers activities, offer work experience, provide apprenticeships or recruit local residents please contact

Contact us

If you have any queries, email or call our contact centre on 0208 770 5000.

If any of your circumstances change after you submit your application, you are required to notify us at