As a start-up enterprise or new business, we have a lot to juggle from staffing to implementing systems and of course, securing sales. So when it comes to offsetting our carbon footprint, it can feel like an extra headache. 

But with the United Nations’ climate change conference well underway in Glasgow (COP 26), AD:VENTURE ambassador and business magazine editor Sophie Mei Lan spoke to fellow entrepreneurs who have sought start-up support from AD:VENTURE whilst reducing their impact on the environment. 

One of those is Matt Wheeler from madeby.studio who alongside his business partner Sam Taylor is on a mission to not just remain ‘carbon-neutral’ as a company but to be ‘carbon-negative.’ 

 â€œWe’ve always been environmentally aware,  then two months ago when we read a recent IPCC report on climate change, we vowed to do something as a small start-up company,” explained Matt who leaves his car at home and accesses his Leeds City Centre office via foot or public transport. 

 â€œI have even adjusted my diet to be more plant-based, so it was a natural progression to ensure our company as an ethical team that we actively did this. The digital design and development studio credits its success on AD:VENTURE support through an accessible business advisor and funding during lockdown. 

“Our advisor was just a phone call away so it has kept us proactive and actually being totally digital as a company has meant that we were sustainable and even thriving throughout the Pandemic thanks to the funding and support we were able to access.” 

madeby.studio have found they have worked with like-minded ethical clients even more as shared values of doing business ethically forge a sustainable future for the environment but for business relationships too. 

“It was easy to do by signing up to a subscription service starting from £15 per month so it has been easy and affordable to not just offset our footprint but to negate it.” 

Matt explained that they are evaluating everything they do to make adjustments to become as ethical as possible as a team. 

He hopes that other companies follow in their footsteps as it is “really easy and essential that we all play a part by making small changes. 

As Matt from madeby.studio explained, that just by starting to make these small adjustments from encouraging staff to use public transport, walk to work, or car-sharing to going paperless where possible can equate to making a huge difference in the environment as well as boosting team morale. https://madeby.studio/

North Sky Yurts (http://www.northskyyurts.co.uk) another eco-friendly local business supported by AD:VENTURE agrees as they made the decision to plant a tree for every booking. 

Co-founder Becca said: “We have been part of a Leeds Council Electric van trial and are conscious about methods we use when working such as avoiding single-use plastic, everything is re-used or reclaimed and we are passionate that we stay local to Yorkshire and recommend other suppliers if outside of our area.” 

These are just two of the Leeds City Region’s purpose-driven companies already making an impact with their success and sustainable core too. Proving that reducing our carbon emissions is not only cost-effective for the world, but it actually forges collaborations between like-minded companies, which is at the heart of AD:VENTURE too

What does your business do? Or what do you vow to do today? 

If you need support in building a sustainable ethical business combining profit with purpose, you can tap into the free start-up support AD:VENTURE offers.

Top tips to go Carbon Neutral 

– Download charity apps such as Charity Miles “for your team. The app tracks your stance and donates money to your chosen charity for every mile you move. The Nature Conservancy, The National Park Foundation and WWF are among those you can pick,” explains the Evening Standard. 

– Use reusable bottles for water refills, reusable coffee cups, make your own protein shakes/smoothies and use your own shaker, and prep food for Tupperware rather than takeaways  

- Ethical gym wear clothing: Shop for ethical brands from vegan trainers to recycled fabrics 

– Reduce travel i.e. walk or jog to work rather than drive or catch a bus 

– Maybe swap your holiday abroad for somewhere closer to home 

– Adjust your diet: Eat more plant-based food can be great for your health and it needn’t cost the earth too. Buy groceries from surplus food projects or your local allotment for example. 

– Get outdoors more: From your garden to park or just going on a walk or jog is simple, easy, and gives you chance to stretch outside or do some grounding 

Obviously, a lot of businesses are digital-first nowadays and it can seem easier for solely digital businesses to track their footprints and reduce them too. But there are a number of ways all businesses can try and reduce their carbon footprint, such as going paperless, walk-to-work initiatives, signing up to carbon-neutral sites, and making pledges to offset their footprint e.g. planting a tree. 

Whilst the digital world can still be harmful to the environment it doesn’t equate to the save on the planet that ‘going digital’ offers. 

– Ban single-use plastics 

– Paperless admin: go digital where possible 

– Encourage recycling of digital correspondence 

– Save on electricity and gas where possible and reduce your own bills too 

– Charity challenges to help with environmental charities 

– Incentivise healthy eating, moving, and living with challenges 

– Reduce travel: From carpooling to walking or using public transport where possible  

– Encourage team building activities outdoors and maybe even ones that help the local area or a clothes swap 

With more millennials looking for purpose-based activities over the ‘new accessory’ – not only can becoming carbon-neutral help the planet but also your business and team spirit too. After all, we all love businesses with shared values and it can really help foster relationships locally. 

Read more from Magazine Editor https://sparkleupnorth.com, our blogger, Sophie Mei Lan, and owner of https://sparklecommunications.co.uk

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