Net-Zero Business Toolkit

Every business, regardless of size or sector, can help the UK with the move to net-zero – and beyond being sustainable, it can offer real opportunities to grow your business. You can ensure you’re using energy more efficiently, cutting your bills, and it can help you reduce wastage, making the resources you’ve got go further and increasing profits. Offering a sustainable approach to business can even win you new customers and open up markets, as both consumers and clients look for climate-friendly options.

Introducing net-zero practices to your business can:

  • Help you save money by reducing wasted stock or materials
  • Reduce your energy bills
  • Ensure you are ahead of new legislation, avoiding additional taxes or fines
  • Give you a competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace
  • Open new markets and offer new opportunities for branding and promotion

The Net-Zero Business Toolkit aims to make sustainability simple, so you can get started with net-zero, saving money and future-proofing your operations. This toolkit is suitable for businesses of any sector or size, and contains a range of information and tools to help you move towards net-zero, whether you’re starting out, checking your progress, or looking to make fundamental changes to the way you work.

If you want to find out more about sustainability and how you can get involved with our work, check out our Circular Yorkshire campaign here.

We want to help SMEs reach net-zero, so if you have any feedback on the toolkit, or ideas of topics you’d like covered, you can fill out a quick feedback form here.

Net-Zero Drop-In Sessions

Do you have any questions on the toolkit, or on sustainability generally? Could you use a hand troubleshooting the tools, or would you like to follow along with a demonstration? York and North Yorkshire LEP run regular Net-Zero Support Sessions, where you can drop-in, ask questions, and meet other local businesses working on sustainability. These are ideal sessions to share ideas and get support – you can find out more information and sign up here.

The toolkit comes in 2 parts;

Download the free toolkit

Part 1 – Our 6 Benefits To Business Guides and checklist

Ideal for: businesses who are starting their net-zero journey, or who want to assess their baseline level of circularity.

These guides introduce the idea of a circular economy – a model that helps businesses make the most of their resources, reducing waste, and finding new ways of working that are as good for both business as they are for the planet. It can help you take simple actions that have a big impact on your bottom line, reducing energy costs, making your resources go further, and saving you money.

What’s included:

  • A simple guide to the circular economy, and how it benefits your business
  • Real-life case studies to show the ideas in action
  • Action-focused checklist, to help you use this knowledge in your own business

Part 2 – Carbon Footprint Calculator and Circular Economy Opportunity Tool

Ideal for: businesses who have already taken the initial steps towards net-zero, and are looking for a full assessment of their current operations so they can plan for the future. We recommend completing Part 1 first.

Understanding your carbon footprint is crucial to moving to net-zero – it can help show you where you’re having the most impact and can help you begin to identify and prioritise areas for change. This tool combines a carbon footprint analysis with a future-planning framework, so you can begin turning your ideas into action.

This tool will help you:

  • Understand your overall carbon footprint, and identify areas of high emissions that you can target
  • Help you assess the resources you use, and reduce wastage
  • Get an idea of your overall energy usage, and areas of high consumption
  • Highlight and prioritise opportunities for change that can make you more efficient
  • Measure the potential impact of different interventions, such as increasing recycled content in your packaging
  • Introduce new ways of working, and help you plan long-term change for your business

Before you get started, you may need to gather the following data for the last year:

  • Your most recent energy bill (both electricity and gas)
  • Your spending on road fuels for company cars (if applicable)
  • Your use of refrigerants (if applicable)
  • Your employees’ commute methods and distances
  • Your water bills
  • The type and quantities of packaging you use, and their recycled content (if any)
  • Your estimated level of waste generation on a weekly basis (we use number of bins filled as an estimate)
  • Your top 3 products by revenue (if you make products)

The full carbon footprint analysis report the tool generates is comparable to those you would get from an environmental consultant, and can be an important assessment and planning tool for the future.

To produce this in-depth report, it may take you 2-3 hours to work through, but this doesn’t need to be done all in one go – you can save the tool and come back to it as many times as you need.