There is a strong case for businesses to ‘Go Green’ and adopt sustainable practices. Here are a few reasons why:
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Risk reduction: engaging in sustainability can help businesses to identify and mitigate potential risks such as supply chain disruptions, reputation damage, and increased regulations
- Employee engagement and retention: sustainability can help to engage and retain employees by creating a sense of purpose and shared values within the business
- Innovation: improving environmental credentials can drive innovation by pushing businesses to find new and more efficient ways to operate
- 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.
- 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
|Join the partnership by committing to halve emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero before 2050
|Measure carbon footprint and environmental impact, and set emissions reduction baseline
|Have strategies in place to halve emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero before 2050
|100% FY 2023-24
|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.