Support for Nottingham businesses to reduce carbon emissions
Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has launched a new project to help local businesses go greener with a range of fully-funded and part-funded services - including up to £5,000 in grants.
The Sustainability in Enterprise programme provides practical support and funding to reduce the carbon emissions of eligible Nottingham SMEs.
This includes a grant towards the cost of hiring a university graduate to champion sustainability, a carbon audit, workshops and expert advice on designing to reduce waste.
And the university’s team are leading by example, having taken part in a recent volunteering day at Summerwood Community Garden to learn more about the journey to slashing carbon emissions.
“As governments, cities, and businesses across the globe work towards carbon neutrality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Sustainability in Enterprise programme aims to drive sustainable growth in businesses and the local economy,” says programme lead Kate Ling.
“The volunteering day alongside NTU's Sustainability Team was a perfect opportunity for the Sustainability in Enterprise team to shake off the cobwebs from remote working and get to meet colleagues face to face for the first time.
"We are determined to walk the walk, so we have planned plenty of other ways in which we can reduce our own carbon emissions in delivering this project, including supporting local community organisations throughout the two-year funded project."
Summerwood Community Garden, home of the local Blue Barrel Cider, is a community organisation that encourages and enables local people to live more sustainably. It relies on volunteers to support with vital tasks like tending the wormery, which produces compost from food waste, and their organic fruit and vegetable gardens.
The road to net zero carbon
The UK Government’s roadmap to net zero by 2050, and Nottingham City Council’s Carbon Neutral Nottingham 2028 pledge have set ambitious carbon emissions targets – and businesses need to respond to reduce risk and maintain competitiveness.
To help achieve these goals, NTU has teamed up with the University of Nottingham and Nottingham City Council to offer free sustainability support for local SMEs. The institutions are also working with Nottinghamshire local authorities and strategic partners, including the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce and the Federation for Small Businesses.
The Sustainability in Enterprise project focuses on four key areas of business performance: people, products, processes and premises.
Eligible businesses can access a 20 per cent grant towards the cost of hiring a university graduate on a 12-month placement who can become a Sustainability Champion within the business with the support of NTU’s fully funded early careers development programme, the Sustainability Community Lab.
The Sustainability Community Lab is designed to equip graduates with the knowledge and tools to lead a sustainability project that improves practices and processes within the workplace.
SMEs can receive support from NTU’s commercial product design team, taking advantage of their solutions-focused approach and subject matter expertise. The team will perform a free life cycle analysis to give the carbon footprint of any product, followed by advice on designing out waste, lowering carbon emissions and achieve greater productivity and innovation.
A second life cycle analysis will then be performed to provide a quantifiable reduction in related carbon emissions.
Processes and premises
Businesses will receive a sustainability audit to understand their current carbon emissions and get advice on how to improve sustainability and reduce that impact in a quantifiable way.
Recommendations can include working towards implementation of ISO14001, development of an environmental management system, and legal compliance. NTU can also offer in-house training to staff. This will be complemented by free consultancy from final year undergraduate students at Nottingham Business School focusing on carbon reduction, and the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment focusing on improvements to premises.
Further to any of the above business consultancy services, eligible businesses can claim a 40 per cent grant, up to a maximum of £5,000, to fund improvements to business processes and premises. Fully funded carbon management workshops are also available, where staff get practical support to embed specific aspects of low-carbon and sustainable practices across their organisation.
Does your business qualify?
The Sustainability in Enterprise programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). ERDF helps local areas to stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.
Support is only available to SMEs based in the Greater Nottingham (SUDS) area.
SMEs are defined as having:
- less than 250 employees
- annual turnover under EUR 50 million OR
- an annual balance sheet less than EUR 43 million
If you are unsure whether you qualify for support, please email [email protected]
For more information on the Sustainability in Enterprise programme visit www.ntu.ac.uk/business-and-employers/support-for-smes/sustainability-in-enterprise