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5 Sustainable Business Practices to Help Reach Net Zero


In June 2019, the UK government announced its new target to reach net zero by 2050, with 113 other countries and over a third of the world’s largest companies setting similar targets. But what does ‘net zero’ really mean? And how can you implement sustainable business practices to help support this goal? Our guide takes you through why net zero is important and how your business can help support this goal.

What Is Net Zero?

The term net zero means that, once achieved, the country will no longer be adding to the levels of greenhouse gas (GHS) in the atmosphere. There are two main ways in which this can be done; reduction and offsetting. Reduction refers to reducing the number of emissions produced through activities such as travel and manufacturing, whereas offsetting involves removing GHS from the atmosphere through initiatives like reforestation and decarbonising the grid by building and utilising more renewable energy infrastructure.

office workers having a net zero meeting

Why Should Businesses Introduce Sustainable Practices?

The main goal of the net zero initiative is to halt and reverse climate change, which in turn will reduce the likelihood of natural disasters such as wildfires and floods. This will also mean the air is less polluted, making it healthier for humans and animals to breathe.  

Many businesses have very carbon-intensive practices from supply chain to disposal, with just 100 companies responsible for over 70% of global annual emissions, meaning that the power to reverse climate change is in the hands of business owners. 

Sustainable business practices can not only benefit the planet but can also help you reach your CSR goals and boost your business by appealing to a demographic of green-minded customers.

5 Sustainable Business Practices to Help Reach Net Zero

Tackling your environmental impact can be a big task for busy business owners. Luckily, there are lots of easy-to-implement sustainable business practices that you can start doing today, to do your part for the planet and get on the road to net zero. 

woman shopping at a zero plastic supplies shop

1. Ditch The Plastic for Sustainable Swaps

Plastic is a big contributor to pollution, with 350 million tonnes of plastic waste being produced each year. Most plastics never fully decompose, they just break down into smaller pieces creating microplastics which release toxic chemicals into the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the food we eat.  

Plastic use is an often-overlooked part of a business’s environmental impact, playing a large part in production processes such as packaging and transportation of goods. 

A simple way to tackle your plastic habits, is to seek alternatives such as glass, cornstarch or bamboo for things like product packaging, or to replace disposable plastic that would have otherwise been discarded. There are lots of sustainable alternatives for every-day business supplies, such as compostable packing peanuts, bamboo pens, and paper bubble wrap. For example, if your business would usually sell products to customers in plastic packaging, or using disposable items such as plastic cups, cutlery or straws, swap to an eco-friendlier alternative. Be sure to let your customers know why you are doing this and how they can support net zero through buying and using your products. You can use these new sustainable business practices as an opportunity to get your customers involved and encourage them to examine their own environmental impact. 

renewable energy engineers at a wind farm

2. Switch to Renewable Energy

Unlike fossil fuels, renewable energy does not create any GHG emissions during production, making it a great way to power your business and keep your carbon footprint down. 

There are two ways you can introduce renewable energy into your sustainable business practice – by investing in renewable energy infrastructure and generating your own, or by switching your energy supply to a green plan 

The most popular forms of renewable energy generation for businesses are solar and wind power, however, generating your own energy will involve a significant investment in infrastructure. There may also be physical limitations such as geographical location, for example if your business premises is located in an area that does not get a lot of wind or sunlight. 

The other option is to switch to a green business energy plan. Many providers offer gas and electricity plans from certified sustainable sources to make it easy for businesses to go green. At Yü Energy, our green plans are backed by REGO, VCS or Gold Standard schemes. 

sustainable business practice supply chain workers in a warehouse

3. Create a Sustainable Supply Chain

No matter how many sustainable business practices you introduce, your business will never reach net zero if your supply chain and partners aren’t doing their part too. According to Deloitte, scope three emissions from your supply chain can account for as much as 70 percent of your business’s carbon footprint 

When choosing partnerships, you can request greenhouse emissions data and look out for certifications to prove that they are doing their bit by demonstrating sustainable business practices too. Look out for certifications such as ISO 14064 , the international standard for quantifying and reporting GHG emissions. You should also check to make sure none of your partners have ever been prosecuted for breaking environmental sustainability laws.  

A simple way of ensuring more sustainable supply chain partnerships is to keep things local. By using suppliers that are local, you can help reduce emissions associated with transportation of goods, speed up turnaround time, and visit your suppliers to gain a greater understanding of the processes involved in creating your products. Using local suppliers is also appealing for many customers, who are beginning to place greater value on shopping small to help boost local economy and environmental sustainability.

close up of EV charger for business

4. Switch Up Your Transport

An increasingly popular sustainable business practice involves re-evaluating the way your business uses transport, by switching to electric vehicles. Whether this is a fleet of delivery vans, or employee commutes, utilising EVs in your daily operations can have a great effect on your overall emissions. 

According to the New York Times, by switching to EV, drivers can reduce their carbon footprints by 50-70%. This is because EVs do not produce any tailpipe emissions, instead running on electricity stored in a battery.  

You can also have EV chargers installed onsite to generate a bonus stream of income, by charging customers to charge their vehicles, as well as creating a new selling point to entice customers into your business. Not only does this enhance your brand image, but it can also help encourage other members of the community to switch to sustainable transport.  

If you want to start your electric transport journey, Yü Charge can help! Get your free quote for EV charger installation and learn more about how EV charging can help you.  

workers watching a presentation on sustainable business practices

5. Get Clued Up On Energy Management

Reducing the amount of energy you use is an effective way to tackle your carbon footprint and make your business practices more sustainable. It is also a great way for you to get your team on board, working towards a common goal.  

Be sure to educate your staff on why saving energy is important and be open to suggestions from your team.  

Internal efforts to understand and reduce energy consumption can include small things such as swapping florescent bulbs for LEDs and reminding people to switch off appliances when not in use, as well as larger things like upgrading your equipment to more energy efficient alternatives and switching to an energy supplier who can help you better understand your business’s energy use.  

Get Your Business on the Pathway to Net Zero

Our free downloadable infographic is the perfect place to start tackling your carbon footprint and planning your journey to Net Zero. Covering everything from measuring your carbon footprint to offsetting your GHG emissions, so you can get started on your green journey.

Are You Ready to Start Investing in Sustainable Business Practices?

At Yü Energy, we have the tools to help you succeed. Our customers can access a range of smart tools designed to help make managing their energy easier. From our extensive range of free sustainability guides, to our brand-new Energy HealthCheck tool, we help you develop your energy management skills so you can make the most of your energy and embrace sustainable business practices. 

Get your free quote for a competitively priced energy plan from a supplier who understands your business today. 

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