Helping Businesses Become Climate-Friendly
Climate Action Fife is a project bringing together individuals, communities, local government and businesses to tackle the climate emergency and make Fife a greener and fairer place to live. As part of this project we held an online Climate-friendly Business Breakfast on 19th November 2021.
Climate-friendly business is important for two reasons: It will result in significant, measurable carbon savings as well increase efficiency and sustainability. Secondly, because people need to see businesses acting on climate change – it helps to change norms, encouraging others to play their part.
At Greener Kirkcaldy, and across partners in Fife involved in Climate Action Fife, we know that businesses, organisations, and community hubs want to become more climate-friendly but don’t always know how to, and what support is available to change practices. This event highlighted what support is available and allowed participants think about other support that could help. Following the recent COP26 climate summit in Scotland, is was ideal time to start the conversation about the key role for businesses in Fife to work together with a common purpose. All participants shared similar expectations: sharing ideas and learning about initiatives to become greener; and inspiration for introducing new practices within workplaces and with staff members.
Zero Waste Scotland
Dimo Preev from Zero Waste Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Business Support service, gave a presentation about the free support they can provide for small businesses and organisations across Scotland, along with advice on funding for their recommendations. Dimo outlined that on average, businesses that receive business support from ZWS have made savings of 24% on their energy use.
Similarly, Gerry Boyle from Zero Waste Scotland Food Waste Reduction Business Support service, outlined how they help and advise people on waste and food waste reduction. Gerry highlighted some stark facts: Globally, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted annually. Global emissions from food waste is three times that from aviation.
Greener Kirkcaldy has had a role in informally supporting local businesses and community organisations to make carbon savings over the past few years. This has ranged from light touch support to referrals to Zero Waste Scotland and other agencies. Greener Kirkcaldy, Senior Energy Advisor Darren Campbell, shared our experiences of making energy efficiency improvements to our community building and the support being provided to small businesses to reduce energy use. Edith Syl, Beveridge Park Bowling Club, talked about this support and changes they are making: installation of new double glazing; new doors; draught proofing; and a heating system, enabling them to use the building all year round.
Greener Kirkcaldy’s Community Food team shared their key recommendations for reducing food waste in businesses.
Fisher and Donaldson
Finally, we heard from Chloe Milne of Fife family bakers Fisher and Donaldson. They recently relocated to a new purpose-built bakery and this gave them an opportunity to make some positive environmental changes within their business and practices. These included:
- Installing solar panels (covers heating costs fir up to two months).
- Installing a thinner roof to reduce fewer mechanical forms of ventilation and cooling.
- Hot water recovery.
- LED light sensors.
- Airlocks on freezers.
- Reflective film on skylights to reflect heat back.
- E-vehicle charging points on site.
- They are looking at electric vans for their shortest routes.
- All food products are delivered loose from the bakery to the shops.
- They use paper boxes and bags to wrap and package food. Plastic carrier bags are being phased out in favour of paper bags.
- They are exploring the use of plant derived materials to replace plastic film on prepared rolls.
- Products are baked at night based on daily orders received from shops. Ordering is based on day to day fluctuations. To ensure there is very little food leftover andwhen a food item is gone, it is gone.
- Staff share anything that is leftover. Anything left is sent back to the bakery to be properly dealt with through composting and appropriate food waste systems.
- They plan to trial the ‘Olio’ app.
- They buy local ingredients as much as possible.
Rest of Event
Following a Q and A session, participants then joined 4 breakout rooms for a discussion on what would help businesses take the first steps towards reducing energy use and food waste.
Everyone agreed that it’s really important to tell people about changes you are making to reduce energy use and food waste – the why and the what. This helps to educate people, customers, and clients that you are serious about being more efficient and sustainable, and that that you want to help the planet.
The last words were left with EA who shared the top 10 actions your business can take right now from the Climate Action Fife website. Climate Action Fife is preparing a new funding application to the National Lottery Community Fund’s Climate Action Fund to continue it’s work and build on what had ben developed so far. All the discussion from the breakfast event will help inform and feed into our thinking about the Climate-friendly business strand.
- Guardians of Grub