Posted: Tue 19th Jul 2022
At Enterprise Nation, we love to recognise small businesses across the UK that are making a conscious effort to be sustainable. With our partners Aviva and TSB, we've launched our Sustainable Small Business Awards to champion the achievements of our nation's small businesses.
Nominations are open until 11:59pm (UK time) on Wednesday 3 August 2022, so there's still time to put forward any business you believe has taken praiseworthy steps to become more sustainable.
In the meantime, here's a little information about the sustainability experts who will be judging this year's entries. And as an added bonus, we've laid out some highly useful tips on how you can make your small business's shipping and delivery processes more eco-friendly. Read on to learn more!
Lucy is a writer and sustainability advocate. She spent the first 10 years of her career working for luxury fashion magazines in London. After learning more about sustainable fashion and feeling frustrated at the lack of knowledge available to both businesses and consumers, she started her own online media platform The Vendeur.
Through the platform, Lucy met a lot of frustrated business founders who were working hard to create ethical and eco-aware businesses. Believing strongly in the future of our planet, Lucy started The WIP to support these businesses through community and resources. The WIP is now a digital membership platform, with an exciting community that continues to grow.
With more than 15 years' experience working in corporate sustainability and environmental and social governance (ESG), Fiona is driven by a desire to see businesses take accountability for their actions and operate more responsibly.
She joined TSB Bank in December 2020 to lead delivery of the Net Zero 2030 strategy, working with colleagues from across the organisation as part of a wider Climate Strategy team.
Fiona holds an MSc in Sustainability from Cranfield University and is a Full member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) and a Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv).
Good Business is a boutique strategy consultancy that develops and manages transformational sustainability plans predominately in the corporate sector.
Since founding the organisation in 1996, Giles has advised some of the world's leading companies, including the Coca-Cola Company, Telefónica, Microsoft, McDonald’s, The Walt Disney Company and Kellogg's.
In 2010, Giles set up the Sustainable Restaurant Association, a pioneering not-for-profit organisation supporting global restaurants to become more sustainable. It now works with over 14,000 restaurants in the UK, Japan, Hong Kong and Chile.
David has worked in strategy, marketing and communication roles for over 20 years, and currently leads the team at Good Business.
During his 14 years there, he's led the development of several large-scale social leadership programmes and sustainability projects, including work for Aviva, O2, Just Eat, Ferrero and Coca-Cola. He also led Kent County Council's award-winning campaign on male suicide prevention, Release the Pressure.
Having worked for business, charities and agencies throughout his career, David has an in-depth knowledge of how to get the most from individuals and organisations to create genuine commercial and social impact.
A specialist in environmental design in architecture, Ed's particular interest lies in developing strategies to make communities and the built environment more resilient. In 2020, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) published his book Retrofitting for Flood Resilience: A Guide to Building and Community Design.
Ed speaks regularly at flood conferences and events worldwide, and runs the RIBA's core CPD lecture series on flooding. Alongside his practice, Ed has been involved with a number of Research Council-funded studies, including his PhD on flood-resilient architecture and the communication of risk. He lives on a houseboat on the river Thames and loves life on the water.
Debbie joined General Accident, one of Aviva's predecessor companies, straight from school and worked in various areas of marketing before moving into corporate responsibility.
In January 2018, Debbie was chosen to lead the Wellbeing@Aviva programme in the UK. Covering physical, mental, financial and social wellbeing, the award-winning programme provides support to allow colleagues to perform at their best.
As well as managing the wellbeing team, Debbie also inspires, motivates and supports a network of more than 200 wellbeing champions, known as Health Heroes.
Planet Mark is a sustainability certification that supports organisations and real estate to measure and continually reduce carbon emissions and increase their social impact.
Alongside his role as the organisation's director of community and partnerships, Andrew also chairs the Institute of Directors National Sustainability Taskforce and was a member of the UK Government's COP26 Small Business Taskforce, as well as the Advisory Board for the Global Sustainability Film Awards.
In 2021, Catherine led the Together for Our Planet Business Climate Leaders campaign for Andrew Griffith MP in his role as UK Net Zero Business Champion ahead of COP26 in November 2021. She has over 10 years' experience in stakeholder engagement, having worked at Transport for London before joining BEIS in March 2020.
During that time, she led several high-profile campaigns, including the stakeholder engagement campaign ahead of the introduction of London's Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in April 2019.
Specialising in innovation, digital engagement and customer experience, Mark works with some of the UK's largest enterprises to support them in achieving their sustainability objectives. His role at Adobe involves supporting financial institutions to become paperless, more operationally efficient and better in their overall customer experience.
As Adobe's UK sustainability advocate, he helps to drive environmental, social and economic change and was recently presented with the Adobe Changemaker award.
Outside of work, Mark is passionate about giving back to the society, whether through his membership at the RSA or mentoring at Your Future, Your Ambition (YFYA).
Today's customers are increasingly looking to businesses to adopt new policies that demonstrate eco-friendly practices of sourcing, manufacturing and shipping.
More and more consumers are considering the environment and sustainability when making purchases and expect to see retailers taking steps toward reducing their carbon footprint and using sustainable packaging.
So, how can you make your business more sustainable and in turn attract new customers and build brand loyalty? Here are some recommendations:
E-commerce relies on a complex logistics and delivery network. According to the World Economic Forum, last-mile delivery vehicles could emit an additional six million metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2030 – an estimate made before recent events sparked growth in e-commerce deliveries.
If consumers continue to turn to e-commerce for retail and grocery deliveries after the worst of the pandemic is over, we may see the emissions from last-mile shipping increase from current projections.
If this occurs, it'll be even more critical for retailers to choose a delivery company with an integrated network that offers sustainable last-mile delivery solutions.
In UPS's study of online shoppers, 83% of UK consumers said that being able to choose an alternative delivery location is the most important factor when selecting a delivery option.
Most shipping and logistics services now have networks of alternative drop-off options, which not only benefit the customer but save you, the retailer, money and time.
Many consumers prefer using these alternative delivery locations as they allow the person to receive their parcel when it's most convenient and not worry about being home for the delivery.
A 2019 study found that 46% of small and medium-sized businesses say competition is their biggest obstacle to growth. One area where you can be ahead of your competitors is through streamlining your shipping process and not wasting time dropping off parcels.
Some shipping services now offer options that arrange a collection only when you have parcels to ship. Having the delivery service come to your business only when you have a parcel to ship saves fuel and reduces carbon emissions.
The carbon-neutral shipping that many logistic providers offer is a way to offset the carbon footprint of e-commerce shipments and appeal to the environmentally conscious consumer.
They allow small businesses to support projects that buy and retire carbon offsets equal to the amount of carbon emitted during shipping.
According to the UPS Smart E-commerce report, the use of sustainable packaging is the biggest action consumers want to see from smaller retailers in particular.
For small businesses looking to appeal to their customers through sustainable packaging, recycled packing materials can be a great place to start. Consider using eco-friendly packaging products such as:
biodegradable starch peanuts
recyclable green anti-static peanuts
Along with the importance of being sustainable for the future, consumers will take note of the measures your business is adopting to become more environmentally friendly.
It's clear consumers are constantly looking for sustainable brands to support – especially small businesses – and following some of the recommendations above can help you expand on your eco-friendly practices.
A programme designed to help owners of small and medium-sized businesses develop a better understanding of environmental and social issues in the UK. Visit the Plan it with Purpose hub