It was a hot sunny day, 5 years ago and I was making some lunch for the family when my then 8-year-old daughter came up to me to ask that I didn’t make her a chicken sandwich or in fact any meat from then on as she had decided to become a vegetarian.
I was supportive of her decision but also intrigued as to why she had made the decision.... Did her peer group feel the same way? Had she been learning about food origins at school?
She told me that none of her friends were vegetarian, but in fact she had read an article online and watched a documentary on BBC that had shown some of the harsh conditions faced by intensely farmed animals that had brought her to the decision. I thought it was fantastic that she had made this decision for herself and would support her (although sometimes getting her to eat vegetables has been a challenge!) However, as a family we have cut down on meat and dairy we consume and ensure we only by locally.
As time passed, I started working for a national water retailer, the knowledge i gained about how intensive it is to treat the water we all just think "comes out of tap?" I was shocked to learn that water wholesale companies (those that supply and maintain the water and infrastructure) across the UK are planning for a day where demand outstrips supply, within the next 20 years!
As a business we were duty bound to talk about sustainability and in my role heading up the third-party sales channel, we talked to customers and third parties about the importance of becoming more efficient;- as this would protect our depleting resource and have a knock-on impact to a business/consumer energy use. The less we use the less we need to heat, thus reducing our environmental impact whilst saving money, a win win I thought.
As a proud (and tight) Yorkshireman this got me thinking, what else can we be doing at home to become more sustainable and save money?
We insulated our house, installed a water butt, installed triple glazing and a new heating system over a few years, making our house much more efficient and cost effective to run.
Whilst making all these changes at home, we continued to talk to our third-party channel about the need to become more sustainable and efficient, taking our conversation away from sales and price. It quickly became apparent there was not much appetite for this. They wanted the cheapest price for their customers and the most commission for themselves, to fire and forget about the contract and not encourage efficiency as this would, in their view hit their bottom line (less commission).
This last year has been extremely challenging for many, suppliers have been hit by fewer customers being able to pay their bills, third parties have been hit by suppliers clawing back commissions that have been paid based on forecast usage that has been hugely reduced. Personally I faced redundancy for the first time in my career.
Having been fortunate to work for some great leaders, where the value of a lifetime relationship has been instilled in me, which in fact sits much closer to my beliefs, I decided now was the time to bring together all my passions, my own business, with our foundations based on trust, long term value and sustainability. We work a 4-day flexible work week as we believe a healthy work life balance is essential for our staff, families and customers. We dedicate 2 paid days per year to volunteering, are on our own road to net-zero and believe in continual development of our people.
Climate change is happening, in fact we have a climate emergency and from the moment my daughter, now thirteen and still vegetarian asked to not eat meat, we have made multiple changes to our lives to reduce our impact on the environment.
I knew we needed to do something, having educated myself further through Newcastle University on their carbon foot printing for business course. I now know the importance of action, collective action and this is how Sustainable Business Services was established
We have been building relationships with organisations for the last 6 months, helping them understand their environmental impact, developing a net-zero strategy talking outwardly and to their supply chain and customers about their WHY and we love what we do. We have adopted low cost, accredited digital solutions that make our service available to all and aligned to the United Nations Climate Change Race to Zero campaign.
We now have several channels, supporting business with their journey, never over promise or look to make short terms gains. Our business is built on relationships, so much so our customers have asked us to support their clients and supply chain and we have now launched our partner channel to do exactly that, collectively talking to each other, reducing our carbon emissions, becoming more efficient and saving money along the way.
We see so much media coverage about sustainability, our government has signed us all into a net-zero target by 2050, with many ambitions bringing this forward to 2030.
We want to support the current movement to net-zero, reduce our environmental impact, support businesses and individuals with accurate information and resource to help with their goals and ultimately our planet as there is no Planet B.