We met PlanetMark at a trade convention called "Edie live" more or less by chance as they were doing free clinics and together we hashed out the start of our journey. We initially set a 5% year-on-year reduction target but felt that this would not bring our emissions down quickly enough and so we spurred on to accelerate the target to 2030 whilst expanding to include scope 3.
Addressing all three emissions scopes was a must:
1. Taking corporate ownership of the supply chain,
2. Commuter mileage,
3. Customer mileage is paramount.
I would urge all businesses to include scope three in their reporting. It is a challenging area - but that does not mean it should be put to one side as it has an impact on the business and it should be influenced as much as possible.
The value of this is clear - as a company you can direct your supply chain investment towards companies who are doing what they can to reduce their carbon impacts which supports their investment while highlighting to less engaged elements of the supply chain that the money is going that way. This brings more companies on board and brings the cost of investment down for all involved.
Thinking differently about the supply chain is critical - the old way of doing things is not sustainable. For example, next-day deliveries and just-in-time ordering models are hyper-reliant on vehicles which, as recently noted, are only as reliable as accessibility to the goods, fuel, and employees. That network is fragile and easily exposed. Therefore, it is essential to approach the ordering of goods from a view of what you need and ask yourself if you can do what it is with what you already have, or if not, do it locally. Each measure you take is going to yield financial and sustainable benefits.
Another initiative we run is with 'Eco-Schools'. All of our nurseries hold Eco-Schools ‘Green Flags’ for exceptional environmental awareness and conservation. A total of 16 nurseries attained a second consecutive Green Flag – making Childbase the largest Early Years leader in this programme.
We have also been awarded the Soil Association Silver ‘Food for Life Served Here’ Award, for our plant-rich menus which include all ethically and sustainably sourced food and ‘meat-free’ days to reduce carbon emissions. Children also learn about the foods that support healthy growth and development.
Our other initiatives include: a ‘Cycle to Work’ programme offering colleagues in all settings savings on bike and safety accessory purchases of between 32% and 42%, and a programme of LED lighting replacement in all settings.
My main advice to anyone in this space is not to wait - there is a range of anxiety around the data requirements, chasing suppliers and internal departments etc. etc. but it is far better to start and then work on improving your systems and data capture as you move through the years.
The next thing is to embed your project at the corporate level - keep it simple, deal in numbers (high carbon = bad, less carbon = good) and leverage the efficiency savings from improved waste management, energy usage, etc. to offset the perception of it being a costly process.
Transparency and detail are of the utmost importance - do not put something in the public domain if you are worried about its legitimacy. Try to stay clear of greenwashing or generic statements such as "eco" or "green" as these are often added to products and services which are neither. Third-party verification can help in legitimising your work such as PlanetMark or B Corp but there are others and your business may work better in a more traditional ISO-based approach, particularly if you are supplying goods or services.
Number of Eco-School Green Flag awards given to schools.