It’s undeniable that the progress made by the Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement over the past month has put climate change firmly on the public agenda.
Individuals from all walks of life have successfully used peaceful protest to convince government and the wider public of the need for a radical plan to tackle environmental concerns.
When school children first went on strike, we heard some politicians condemn their actions and call for students to get back to the classroom. But those politicians missed the public mood that XR, students and schoolchildren have so successfully focused upon.
In just a few weeks this spring, we’ve witnessed a very different discourse on the climate crisis.
Politicians rushed to hear student activist Greta Thunberg speak and ministers have embraced the movement, including environment secretary Michael Gove and Claire Perry, minister for energy and clean growth, who is soon to speak at a Bristol event to launch a new sustainability programme for the region.
On May 1, something remarkable then happened. The UK finally declared a climate emergency, following earlier declarations by the Scottish and Welsh parliaments.
The goal set out by Government’s Committee on Climate Change in their latest Net Zero report is to now reach net zero carbon emissions in UK by 2050.
Here at The Planet Mark, we welcome this new target that will revolutionise the UK’s climate action and accelerate carbon reduction across all reaches of society, expecting that the date set will soon be brought forward.
Business must lead the change
Businesses and brands are in the best position to take the lead and tackle climate change. That’s why from its outset, The Planet Mark has aimed to help organisations embrace sustainability and transform the way they do business, through partnerships with the Eden Project and Cool Earth – global charities based in the South West.
What’s fantastic about Extinction Rebellion is that, for the first time, we are seeing some of UK’s biggest players collectively get behind a major environmental campaign. 21 business executives, who’ve worked with leading corporations such as Unilever, Body Shop and Triodos Bank, recently voiced their support for the campaign in a letter to The Times.
But the movement is far bigger than this. We know of scores of small and medium sized businesses that are reducing their carbon emissions and contributing meaningfully to society, with passion and purpose.
In the past, the business sector has considered carbon reduction commitments, energy savings schemes and greenhouse gas emission limits as, yet another form of compliance.
These carbon taxes were fundamental to reducing emissions, but they did little to win over the hearts and minds of businesses both large and small.
The case for investment in business carbon reduction schemes is a logical one. Reduce your carbon means reducing your costs. Whether that is reducing your energy, transport fuel and wastage costs or investing in the sustainability of your workforce. Energy efficient businesses often see the immediate effects of these benefits.
Make a commitment to cut carbon today
We’ve heard the talk, now we need the action. And where better to start this transformation to zero carbon than in Bristol, which has been recognised in recent years for its commitment to green energy and transport goals.
At The Planet Mark, we’ve created a simple way to calculate an organisation’s carbon footprint and focus their efforts on how to decrease emissions, cut energy bills and become environmentally sustainable. The programme taps into the knowledge, passion and enthusiasm we all have to change UK workplaces.
The Planet Mark has certified more than 400 organisations nationwide in reducing their carbon footprint year-on-year. Last year, holders of The Planet Mark cut their total carbon by an average of four per cent and by 12 per cent reduction in their carbon output per employee.
Starting simply from making a commitment to cut carbon emissions, businesses then move to put sustainability firmly into their cultural DNA. We witness this first hand every day, and it is the basis of our optimism in reversing climate change and creating a thriving planet.
How can your business get involved?
To achieve a sustainable goal, we need to make these solutions accessible to all businesses. That’s why we are launching Planet Mark Start!, a free sustainable programme to help SMEs and start-ups, specifically in the West of England, reduce their carbon footprint and benefit from the results.
To launch Planet Mark Start! we’re inviting all SMEs, start-ups and entrepreneurs in the West of England to join us on Thursday, May 16 for an event with keynote speaker Claire Perry.
The event is free to attend and will take place from 6pm to 8pm at KPMG on Queen Square.
To register for The Planet Mark Start! launch event and to find out more about the programme, visit: www.eventbrite.com/e/the-launch-of-planet-mark-start-with-rt-hon-claire-perry-mp-tickets-55351601129
Steve Malkin is the founder of The Planet Mark
Read more: Building a sustainable business