Businesses must act to avoid a climate crisis - but there are reasons to be positive

Gudrun Cartwright, Environment Director at Business in the Community, on how companies that are proactive in efforts to preserve the environment are reaping rewards.
Earlier this month I wrote about the challenges we face and the urgency with which we need to tackle our shared environmental challenges if we are to preserve civilization for our children. 
This week I want to share why we should be optimistic, and seize the opportunity to find new ways to create value that tackling these challenges presents.  


Momentum is building

Hundreds of thousands of school students went on strike over climate change. Investors are pushing for action, with the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Funds being the latest and largest to commit to coming out of fossil fuels. There are clear signals that renewable energy, with storage, is fast becoming the cheapest way to power our future. The UK Government’s Spring Statement put significant environmental actions at its heart, with positive net gain for biodiversity in new developments a potential game changer. 

The impetus for change is getting stronger every day, which in turn brings great opportunities for businesses that act now.  
The business benefits are significant
From our work with businesses we know that those that act now are reaping significant business benefits.
Our work on developing circular offices has shown that office waste costs UK businesses £15bn per year and each company could save between £400 and £1,000 per employee, per year. Our Circular Office Guide gives lots of examples where companies have saved hundreds of thousands of pounds, created new market opportunities and engaged employees, with practical tips you can take to realise the benefits for yourself.
Collaboration to solve shared challenges is creating new opportunities
Through our work we are seeing increasing collaboration to solve shared challenges. 
There is the cross-sector project we are part of in Greater Manchester to find innovative ways to fund green infrastructure, so that it builds resilience to climate change impacts and delivers a solid return on investment.
There are the exciting ideas that our Waste to Wealth champions are creating across key resource challenges, such as food, metals and the built environment. More than 100 businesses are signed up to double resource productivity and eliminate avoidable waste by 2030.  It is clear that when people come together we can deliver value by putting environmental challenges at the heart of our objectives.
Business in the Community’s website contains a wealth of impact stories to inspire, and practical tools and guidance to enable you to make the most of the opportunities. We have networks across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and have launched Waste to Wealth initiatives across the nations (including in Wales in partnership with the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management). 
We are standing by to help you think through  key challenges and opportunities, and get started on your journey to a prosperous and sustainable future today. Get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.