The Carbon Charter was born in 2010 as part of a project to overcome obstacles to energy reduction in businesses and communities. We created the accreditation scheme to recognise the great sustainability work of many small and medium-sized businesses while providing them with green resources and expertise.
The accreditation scheme was developed with support from the EU Regional Development Fund and launched by Suffolk County Council in collaboration with the Environment Agency and our delivery partners, Groundwork East. Today, more than 500 charters have been awarded to businesses across Suffolk at three accreditation levels – gold, silver, and bronze.
The Carbon Charter not only enables businesses to recognise how sustainable they are today, but also provides access to grants, funding, and expertise. This allows local companies to connect with ongoing support and take the next steps to better sustainability.
We believe that becoming part of the Carbon Charter is not only good for the environment, it’s also good for business. Accredited companies can proudly display their credentials and appeal to a growing number of environmentally conscious consumers. We have received extremely positive feedback from businesses across the Carbon Charter community.
“The benefits to the company have been endless. It is important to us to be involved in a local scheme and to demonstrate our commitment locally,” said Amy Smith from Hollybush Farm Produce.
Over time, the scheme has evolved. In the early days, many of the businesses we worked with were already very focused on sustainability. Today, we work with a much broader spread of companies, and we have a greater impact in traditionally energy-hungry industries.
We’ve also expanded the ways we reach businesses, developing a productive relationship with the East of England Co-Op who have worked with us to accredit their supply chain partners. While Suffolk County Council now asks everyone it does business with to share its climate emergency commitments – one of the ways they can do this is through the Carbon Charter.
The scheme is currently being expanded across Norfolk, and we meet regularly with our network to share green best practices, ideas, and advice. We’re always looking for new ways to support local businesses and we’re excited to continue to grow the Carbon Charter’s reach and impact.
Get in touch! – We love to speak to other local authorities and organisations about their green ideas and share the learnings from our scheme.
Have open conversations – We accredit every business through a visit from an environmental expert. We believe this gives us a deeper understanding of who a company is and the support we can provide than tick boxes in an online form.
Make it practical – Every recommendation we make to a business is practical and purposeful. We never ask them to make irrelevant changes to reach an accreditation level.