Sustainable business practices workshop
Local business leaders joined us for an afternoon of learning how to build a more sustainable future for their businesses.
The sustainability workshop was led by ecopreneur and climate coach – Laura Gelder Robertson, and local sustainability author and one of our business lecturers – Andrew Grantham.
“This carbon mission is primarily about resilience. We’re all in this – we need to do it,” said Andrew.
Attendees discussed the challenges they face when it comes to sustainable business strategy, with leaders from a range of sectors including jewellery, construction, cleaning, consultancy and energy.
They learned about the differences between becoming net zero and carbon neutral, b-corps, and greenwashing.
Laura and Andrew encouraged delegates to look at their own businesses and evaluate the impact they have on the environment, plus what changes could be made to reduce their carbon footprint and emissions.
“Do the maximum you can do. We don’t win in isolation, we win by doing it together,” said Laura when talking about making changes in the supply chain.
“Responsible ways of repairing and reusing things to reduce emissions is critical to reducing waste.”
Andrew looked at large organisations making sustainability strategy changes, such as b-corps. He discussed why companies have got these accreditations, but also greenwashing when it comes to corporate sustainability.
Cambridge dictionary defines greenwashing as ‘behaviour or activities that make people believe that a company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is’.
Business leaders were engaged in the conversation about corporate sustainability, sharing thoughts on what other businesses were doing well and which sustainability initiatives still needed work.
Laura then explained carbon literacy and how to quantify how much carbon a business creates.
She also discussed business models based on doughnut economics, which is a new framework of economics designed to help businesses build sustainable business practices.
Doughnut economics takes into account social responsibility and the environmental impact – the ‘sweet spot’ being the doughnut in between these two rings.
“Maybe profit isn’t the be-all and end-all, maybe there’s something else we can factor in,” said Laura.
“Circular economy is quite disruptive. Could you find a way of making less stuff but make it smarter in a way that still aligns with customer need?” she challenged attendees.
The session concluded with delegates completing a diagnostic tool that identified threats and opportunities when it comes to sustainable practices. This got business leaders talking about the changes they could make and how to make smarter decisions when it comes to business sustainability.
Help to Grow: Management
The event was organised by our Help to Grow: Management team. Help to Grow: Management is a 90% government-funded course for SME business leaders and owners, aimed at business growth.
The government course also looks at social and environmental issues, helping businesses become more sustainable. Find out more about the Help to Grow: Management course at the University of Brighton.