This guest blog is by Dr John French, CEO of the Adapt Low Carbon Group
Making a dent in your company’s carbon footprint is not necessarily the first thing that springs to mind when considering how to grow your business. Many company bosses struggle to see how the bottom line can benefit from a low carbon approach. But whatever sector you operate in and whatever your business does there are significant opportunities for economic growth in a low-carbon world.
At the Adapt Group’s Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF) – a venture capital fund for businesses in the East of England offering investments between £10k and £750k – we can offer the following advice on how to achieve low carbon economic growth.
Become lean and efficient
Review your entire business and look to replace anything you currently do that wastes energy. Becoming energy efficient will reduce carbon emissions and lead to long-term cost savings.
- A timber frame supplier looking for investment in their CAD/CAM capabilities to reduce wastage – getting more products out of your raw materials cuts down costs and transport/delivery costs and increases output for the same money spent
- A film production company looking for investment in tools to track and improve resource usage and adopt new low carbon ways of working – reducing transport, reducing use of generators and lights, sourcing food locally, buying materials locally, using recyclable materials
Use innovative green technology
Boost your low carbon credentials and stand out from your competition by investing in new green technology. This can save you money in the long term. Is your equipment energy efficient? Can you generate your own energy? Can you use state of the art technology to be more efficient?
- A software company wishing to invest in more energy efficient processing hardware that saves running costs and cuts carbon emissions
- A company electing to use a data storage service that relies upon Green IT suites using clever energy saving servers for their data centres
Think re-usable, recyclable or recoverable
Using reconditioned or recycled raw materials smartly can reduce impacts from disposal in landfills. This approach may also save costs over virgin materials by reducing the need for carbon intensive processing and transport costs along the supply chain.
- A company selling on a ‘waste product’ that has value as an alternative product or can be recycled. For example: –
- A carpet fitter selling offcuts to be incorporated in modern building materials
- A processor of vegetables selling washed-off grit and stones to a gardening business
- A packaging company selling its waste paper materials to be used in innovative building insulation
By removing inefficiencies in transport, material or energy use when designing a new service or product, you could make a huge difference to your company’s carbon footprint.
- A bottle manufacturer redesigning the shape of its bottles in order to fit more in a crate and transport more bottles on the same lorry, thus cutting down on haulage.
- A printing company improving its processes so that less paper and ink are wasted during the ‘setting up’ phase of a print job
- A sweet producer investing in production equipment that boils the ingredients quicker whilst using less energy, thus reducing costs and improving outputs
Influence green behaviour
Consider whether your service or product could be designed/re-designed to prevent your customers wasting materials or energy. Getting to know your customer better in this way is not only good for relations, but may also offer further design innovations, as well as cost saving opportunities.
- A magazine publisher requiring investment to develop a digital app that will reduce their printed output
- A new fridge with intelligent sensors so the fridge sounds an alarm if the door is left open for too long
If you’d like to speak to someone about how you can integrate carbon saving that will benefit your business, get in touch via the Low Carbon Innovation Fund website.