Business Stream: “Our journey towards net zero”
As businesses prepare for COP26, Business in the Community (BITC) Scotland Leadership Board Member Jo Dow, Chief Executive Officer at Business Stream, shares the water provider’s approach to driving climate positive change. Jo is Chair of BITC Scotland’s Climate Action Group, working collaboratively to provide leadership and insight to support responsible environmental action in Scotland.
As a responsible business, we are committed to making a positive difference to the environment. We play a key role in helping our customers use water wisely and since 2012 we have helped them save over 49 billion litres of water – the equivalent of nearly 20,000 filled Olympic-sized swimming pools. But in recent years we’ve also turned our attention inwards to look at what we as a company are doing to reduce our own environmental impact.
We all need to take pro-active steps to reduce our impact on the environment and with COP26 fast approaching, there has never been a better time to be doing so.
We have since launched a number of initiatives to help drive our efforts to become a circular office, including removing all plastic bottles from our vending machines; providing re-usable bottles and coffee cups to all colleagues; and increasing our recycling facilities. These steps, in addition to promoting behavioural change, have all made a difference. But we knew we wanted and needed to do more.
Business Stream’s parent company, Scottish Water Group has an ambition to become net zero by 2040 – five years ahead of the Scottish Government target. We know that in order to achieve this goal, we need to be pro-active and take steps from now to reduce our carbon use.
The starting point for us has been understanding our current carbon footprint and environmental impact. This exercise has helped us better understand our carbon use, helping to remove the guesswork, and enabled us to identify opportunities to reduce it. Surprisingly, the greatest carbon impact doesn’t necessarily come from the areas you might expect. As a business our carbon use isn’t high but there are still improvements to be made. We wanted to agree a stretching target that would keep us focused and help drive innovative thinking to help us achieve our end goal. As a result, last month we launched our pledge to reduce our carbon footprint by 20% over the next 12 months.
To help achieve this, we will be introducing a series of measures including reviewing our fleet, adapting our paper use and printing processes, re-evaluating our business travel policy and working with our contractors to ensure they are taking steps to limit their emissions. In addition, we’re keen to maintain, where possible, some of the reductions that have been achieved organically during lockdown.
Recognising the importance of making behavioural changes both at work and at home, we are also encouraging our colleagues to monitor and reduce their own carbon use. This includes sharing useful tips and tools and resources, such as the Count Us In platform which individuals can use to identify practical steps to reduce their carbon pollution, with pledges they can then commit to, and then track their progress against.
Our pledge is an ambitious one and there will inevitably be learnings for us along the way but we know we have a responsibility to our customers, our people and the communities we operate within to play our part in helping to protect the planet. We all need to take pro-active steps to reduce our impact on the environment and with COP26 fast approaching, there has never been a better time to be doing so.
Jo Dow is Chief Executive Officer at Business Stream and a member of BITC’s Scotland Leadership Board.
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