Is your business climate ready? May 3 2019 | Claudia Cowie, team leader of sustainability and climate change, Aberdeenshire Council

It is no secret that climate change is one of the biggest threats facing our planet. 

So, what is your business doing to not only make it sustainable for the future by considering adaptation and resilience measures, but also supporting the global mitigation efforts by reducing your businesses emissions? 

It is important for a business to first look at what the quick wins are - those wins which you have direct and instant control over.  With programmes like Resource Efficient Scotland out there to offer free advice and technical support, this is a simple first step that your business can take. The Scottish Government is committed to supporting SMEs to reduce energy and resource costs. The SME Loan is provided through Resource Efficient Scotland and is interest free from £1,000 up to £100,000 to be used on heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades, lighting systems, building fabric efficiency, water savings, and waste reduction.

Building a culture within your staff that supports and encourages behaviour change is also important. When staff feel engaged with change, they become more empowered and can really support encouraging others along the way. Small nudges can have huge benefits!

Climate Change is bringing with it both threats and opportunities and it is necessary to assess both possibilities for your business. How will it affect your staff, working environment, supply chain, insurance and legal obligations?  Being proactive and not reactive makes for a sustainable and resilient business. The Adaptation Scotland programme provides advice and support to help businesses prepare for these impacts.

The Circular Economy movement is progressing, and many businesses are now finding new opportunities that reduce cost and waste. Looking at a circular model can also increase revenue as your business looks at further opportunities across its supply chain. There may also be opportunities for your business to help support local social enterprises and the third sector along the way. To learn more, Circular North-east is there to inform and inspire your business to adopt circular strategies.  

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)  were adopted by all United Nations Member States back in 2015. The SDGs are the global action plan to create a fair and sustainable world by 2030. These ambitious goals cannot be achieved without the support of businesses. There are many businesses across the world supporting the 17 SDGs – is your business one of them?  

Some choices made may prioritise ethical decisions over financial gain and these need to be considered in addition to those that make financial sense. Reputational risk should be a real concern for a business in this changing world. Those that are looking at sustainability in a way that is not simply ‘Green Washing’ are more likely to attract highly skilled and motivated individuals to join the team. 

We all have a role in limiting the impacts of climate change on this planet, and it will take direct action - as well as collaboration between the public, private and third sectors - to make a notable and lasting difference.

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