As we reported in the last issue of All Things Business, British Chambers of Commerce recently held their annual conference around the theme People, Planet, Progress, and at Bedfordshire Chamber we’re proud to have both members and partners whose core business champions these crucial values.
One such partner is carbon measurement specialist Compare Your Footprint, and in this, the second in a series of three articles on the three Ps mentioned above, I spoke to Compare Your Footprint’s CEO and founder (and namesake – though no relation!) Will Richardson, to understand what his business delivers, and the timely and compelling offering he has for Chamber members.
Justin: Will, we’re keen to hear a bit about yourself and your background, but before we do that, you’ve a unique new service available to Bedfordshire Chamber members free of charge, haven’t you?
Will: We certainly have! We’re on a mission to help smaller businesses measure and reduce their carbon count, so we’ve made our ground-breaking carbon measurement software available to Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce members at no cost.
Members simply enter the everyday variables that determine their carbon footprint – energy, water, waste, travel, freight, manufacturers, materials, cloud hosting, and a few others – and they get instant results, in the form of scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions reports. Once they have this output, they can set targets and compare results to monitor progress.
Justin: It sounds very powerful, and I know from my own conversations that carbon emissions and sustainability are climbing strongly up our members’ agendas. But how do you help businesses to actually take action?
Will: That’s a really important turning point, and that’s why we’ve partnered with another company I’ve been involved in running for a number of years, Green Element, to support businesses with contactless and face-to-face training and courses. We can even help them put in place a full Environmental Information Management (EIM) system to meet international standards like ISO 14001.
Justin: You say ‘a number of years’ so it sounds like you realised the impact of carbon emissions perhaps before others did – might now be a good moment to explore your back story?
Will: Yes – I was looking through some old school reports and I came across a mention of a talk I’d given on carbon reduction when I was 14. Even then, it was something I was deeply committed to.
Green Element was founded 20 years ago, and we set up Compare Your Footprint five years ago, with the goal of enabling all businesses to be able to achieve an accurate carbon measure by 2025. We particularly wanted to make it accessible for SMEs and those at the smaller end of that spectrum, as it’s a real challenge for them.
It’s about providing good-quality carbon footprinting at low cost, although through our partnership with the Chamber, of course, we deliver it at no cost!
Justin: You mention good-quality carbon footprinting – what is it about the way you do it that ensures that quality?
Will: The comprehensiveness of the carbon data is absolutely key. Our relationship with Green Element means the measurement of a business’s carbon footprint is based on comparative data that takes into account over 10,000 worldwide carbon factors, with a very strict approach to filtering out unreliable items, such as nominal carbon
Justin: It’s clearly a very thorough approach, but I have to ask: is it proven? What confidence can our members have that it is accurate and credible?
Will: That’s an essential point, and it’s important to note that although our commitment is very much to smaller businesses, we bring to those businesses the benefits of our many years’ experience of working with some of the UK’s biggest household names, and of our established presence in a number of market verticals.
At the recent British Chambers of Commerce annual conference, we were publicly thanked by NatWest for our contribution to the bank’s SME carbon footprint strategy, and our clients also include enterprises and corporates in the advertising and legal sectors, amongst others.
In a nutshell, we’ve got a track record of working successfully at both large and small scale, and delivering across industry types.
Justin: And is Compare Your Footprint easy to use? That’s pretty critical for smaller businesses with fewer resources.
Will: Absolutely. It’s based around ready-made upload templates that guide you as to what data you need to enter, so you can get started really quickly and get to the results and outputs more rapidly, without having to work it all out from scratch.
Justin: And none of this is going away, is it? Carbon emissions and sustainability are essentially becoming an item on many businesses’ balance sheets.
Will: Carbon and sustainability credentials are a growing focus for customers, partners, and investors alike, so there’s never been a more opportune moment for Chamber members to take advantage of what’s on offer here – and for Bedfordshire businesses to join the Chamber if they haven’t already, in order to enjoy that same offer.
For more information on joining Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce and benefiting from Compare Your Footprint’s carbon measurement tool at no additional cost, visit www.chamber-business.com, or call 01582 522448