Business Environment Network

How can business prove itself sustainable? 

Many of you reading this will know that on May 1st 2019 our Parliament approved a motion to declare an environment and climate emergency. 

Dozens of towns and cities and local authorities across the UK have already declared a climate emergency. Here in Kent many local authorities have declared a climate emergency including: Canterbury, Shepway, Gravesham, Maidstone, and Medway. 

At no other point in time has our environment been so high up the agenda.  Just think of the impact Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet had on people’s awareness of how our planet was being damaged through single use plastics, and the subsequent changes made by some global corporates and by individuals to address this issue of sustainability. 

Momentum and interest in making change has been retained and the country is beginning to see the wider threats to the environment finally being taken seriously, but how can business play its part simply and easily, whilst keeping an eye on the bottom line and work towards becoming sustainable? 

Many businesses are keen to improve their green credentials and make a positive contribution to the environment, but often they don’t know what to do and access to the right information can be quite limited or difficult to get hold of.   

To address this Kent Wildlife Trust recently launched a new initiative – Kent Business Environment Network (Kent BEN)  – designed to create a forum in which private sector companies, ranging from single and sole source traders through to small to medium enterprises to big business, can come together to share their ideas, good practice, concerns and questions about how we can collectively make business and society more environmentally friendly.  Working from within this group of business peers it is hoped, that with access to a wide range of expert advice, that business can work to find solutions – solutions which can have a positive impact on the bottom line – think here of the changing expectations of the consumer. 

With a strong focus on sustainability, and with a general sense that the traditional networking scene has become a little stale, Kent BEN is designed to improve the dialogue around sustainability and create a collaborative approach to change.   As a result Kent Wildlife Trust sees Kent BEN as the easiest way to allow businesses to become part of the broader solution to the biggest challenge of the age. 

Having held two launch events the initial signs have been incredibly positive.  Over 100 businesses attended, from technology firms to goods and service providers, to solicitors and insurers, listening to experts from the areas of sustainability with the vast majority of attendees looking to participate through 2020. 

At a time of climate crisis and climate emergency  it is all of our responsibility to sit up and take note and, whilst we wait for solutions to come from a national level, there seems to be a great opportunity to take the initiative now and to shape and create something from the ground up which has clear and measurable benefits to us all. 

Ed Charles – Director of Fundraising and Marketing – Kent Wildlife Trust

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