Ask the Expert – Sustainability in Business

It is always our aim to showcase and share the remarkable expertise and industry knowledge of those around us. Today, we’d like to feature an expert on the topic ‘Sustainability in Business’ – an approach to creating long-term value by considering how organisations operate ecologically, socially and economically.

In this context, we caught up with Katherine Piper, Director at The Future Economy Network. We asked Katherine for some practical insights on sustainability in a business context specifically, ahead of their upcoming event ‘The Festival of Sustainable Business’.

Here, our chat as part of our ‘Ask the Expert’ series.

ADLIB: Let’s start with “why” from your perspective. Why are sustainability practices within businesses so important?

Katherine: Business accounts for 19% of UK carbon emissions (BEIS, 2017a) and there is a growing acknowledgement of the positive contribution company-level abatement efforts can make in achieving climate goals. With less than 11 years to drastically reduce our carbon emissions and avoid the devastating impacts of climate change, we need all businesses on board with regards to their sustainability practices.

ADLIB: The Festival of Sustainable Business looks great. Could you share a little more about the event and the topics that will be covered?

Katherine: We are so excited! Our Festival of Sustainable Business takes place in Bristol on 17th Sept. Individuals and businesses alike will learn about what they can do to achieve carbon neutrality. Here is a flavour of what we have lined up:

  • A free exhibition showcasing sustainability-related products and services at We The Curious
  • A free Lightning Talk Stage, compered by Radio Presenter Paris Troy
  • A free Sustainable Transport Zone in Millennium Square
  • Sustainably-sourced lunches in our Sustainable Food Zone in Millennium Square
  • 9 seminars on various sustainability-related themes including The Circular Economy, Smart Cities and The Future of Energy. (ADLIB readers can get a 50% discount on seminars by entering the code BL19!) NB If you have already purchased tickets, they are not exchangeable for discounted ones.
  • A sustainably sourced Gala Dinner where keynote speakers include Rt Hon Sir Edward Davey MP, City to Sea Founder, Natalie Fee and Bristol City Council Mayor, Marvin Rees.

ADLIB: In your opinion, how can businesses ensure that they adopt and maintain a ‘sustainable’ mindset?

Katherine: A business must not underestimate the importance of bringing its team with them on their sustainability journey. With over a third of the British public experiencing eco-anxiety, a company’s workforce will likely welcome the commitment to addressing the climate crisis head-on, but despite this, we humans can struggle with change!

The Future Economy Network runs weekly sustainability-related events, helping businesses to get on board with sustainability. Releasing team members from their day-to-day activities to be able to attend these events will help get the whole team on board and ensure everyone is pulling in the same direction.

ADLIB: Can you share 3 key things that businesses should be doing to minimise their carbon footprint?


• Measure your carbon footprint
• Devise a carbon reduction action plan
• Bring your team with you!

Different companies will emit carbon in different ways and therefore an important first step is to measure your carbon footprint to see where you can make the biggest carbon saving impacts. There are various methods available for measuring one’s carbon footprint. Personally, I feel whichever method is quickest (we don’t have time, we need to act now!) and yet reliable is the best method to adopt.

The Future Economy Group’s carbon footprinting tool can help a company quickly measure their carbon footprint, and with embedded GHG Protocol methodology, produces an accurate, visual of a company’s carbon emissions.

Once you can see which areas of your business are the most carbon-intensive, a bespoke carbon reduction action plan can be put in place. Often it is a company’s scope 3 (indirect) emissions that have the biggest impact so reviewing your procurement procedures and ensuring that all buying decisions are taken through a sustainability lens is a great next step!

As mentioned above, it is important to bring all team members along on your sustainability journey and so writing sustainability into a business’ core values and strategy is crucial.

ADLIB: And finally, what can attendees hope to take away from The Festival of Sustainable Business?

Katherine: With well over 1,200 registered to attend, we have no doubt that useful collaborations and knowledge will be a major outcome of the Festival. The first 1000 attendees will also come away with a delegate bag and for the 300 attendees of the Gala Dinner, they will also come away with a nice, full belly! See you there!

We take our environmental responsibilities seriously, we get involved, we feature, support and champion Green Tech businesses, those that disrupt and are on a similar journey. Please get in touch should you like to find out more or if you are on a similar mission, we’d love to collaborate to make a real difference.

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Head Of Tech (Permanent)

CTO/Leads, Developers, GreenTech

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Mike Harley