Declan’s policy update: Driving the green agenda

I’m kicking off the week by meeting with Stafford Borough Council’s Climate Change Commission. 

I’ve been asked to deliver an update on how Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce is promoting the sustainability agenda to the business community.

This is very much an ongoing journey which started in-house and has so far included the Chambers’ gaining and successfully re-accrediting for ISO14001, a universally recognised standard for environmental management.  ISO14001 clarifies best practise for organisations that wish to reduce their environmental footprint, by adopting an effective environmental management system (EMS).

Gaining ISO14001 accreditation was a significant staging point in the journey and gives us the opportunity to embrace best practise in areas such as how we dispose of our waste.  We have solar panels on the roof of our Commerce House office and at this time of year, with more hours of daylight, the panels make a significant contribution towards our energy consumption.

Our staff are encouraged to contribute ideas on how we can improve our sustainability journey.  The QEST (Quality, Environment & Sustainability Team), has representation from each of our internal teams and meets on a regular basis, developing suggestions and feeding back to our teams.  Over the years, suggestions have included the fitting of automatic light sensors and more efficient use of how we print items, as well as encouraging moves away from paper-based materials.  Getting staff engaged with QEST, is critical in getting that internal “buy-in”.

Our Commerce House office also has two electric vehicle charging spaces.  It’s a perfect way for staff and visitors to charge their vehicles during the working day.  With many motorists not having the benefits of off-road parking at home, the ability to charge a vehicle during the working day, is another incentive to make the switch to an electric vehicle.

As a Chamber, we host a number of policy forums, one of which is our Energy, Environment & Sustainability forum.  This particular forum is tasked with exchanging information on energy, environmental concerns and sustainability within the private sector.  The forum also helps to drive our policy understanding on energy efficiency and environmental sustainability and promoting the development of a sustainable economy in Staffordshire.

Like all of our policy forums, the Energy, Environment & Sustainability forum is made up of Chamber member businesses and in addition to inviting guest speakers to provide informative updates, the forum members help us to debate the key issues which then help to shape and underpin our policy and lobbying work.  This could be in the form of a specific campaign, or writing to the government on a specific issue.

The sustainability agenda is very much at the heart of our new Business Manifesto, which is being launched in the next week.  Our Manifesto will focus on five key themes, one of which is ‘Green Staffordshire’.   We recognise the impact of climate change being seen at both a global and local level.  Businesses are increasingly acknowledging the significance of taking action at a local level, aligning with the global objective of mitigating the adverse effects of climate change.

We will be committing to a number of pledges to drive forward the sustainability agenda and to encourage local businesses to both embrace and achieve net zero aspirations.  Watch this space for the launch of our Manifesto!

If you would like to join our Energy, Environment, Sustainability forum, please get in touch: