Businesses across Merton are being encouraged to become more environmentally-friendly by the borough’s leading environmental charity.
Sustainable Merton launched Merton’s Business Network for Climate Action in January 2020 to support businesses who want to reduce their environmental impact.
Surveys by Merton Council showed that 33% of carbon emissions in the borough were caused by businesses and that 50% of businesses felt responsible for climate change.
Project and Campaigns Coordinator Ellie Smallshaw said: “The main aim of Merton’s Business Network for Climate Change is to connect with local businesses who want to be more sustainable in their practices.
“We provide businesses with information on the benefits of becoming more sustainable and in the first instance provide a simple sustainability checklist for them to assess where they are now and help them to determine actions for the next six to 12 months.
“We connect businesses with experts who can help them achieve their plans, as well as providing the opportunity to meet other like-minded businesses so they can share information, experiences, and services.
“We have had approximately 50 businesses show an interest in the scheme. There are no specific business types, as we have a range including retail, printing, hair and beauty salons, and hospitality venues.
“Many of the businesses are small or medium-sized businesses where the owners have a personal desire to be more sustainable in their practices and realise the benefits to their businesses in being more sustainable to attract customers, investors and reduce costs in the long term.”
The scheme launched before Covid-19 impacted the UK, and Smallshaw believes it is difficult to know what impact the pandemic will have on the fight against climate change in Merton, and across the country as a whole.
She said: “It is difficult to evaluate the challenges Covid-19 has posed to combating climate change as we are still very much in the pandemic, I believe it will be some years before we can reflect on the impact of Covid-19 on our ability to combat climate change.
“The pandemic though has forced us to change the way we live and think about our lives and our environment, providing an opportunity to change our behaviour and actions towards climate change for the positive going forward.”
Sustainable Merton also run several other schemes to tackle the climate emergency.
Smallshaw said: Our volunteers are key to the work we do and are involved in a wide variety of our projects depending on their interests.
“We established a community fridge in May last year, an effort to reduce food waste and help alleviate food poverty. Since then, we have extended this reach, forming Merton’s Community Fridge Network with three other partners, The Wimbledon Guild, Polish Families Association and Commonside Development Trust.
“We also have gardening projects and have formed links with other food growing places in Merton to provide opportunities for people to learn how to grow, prepare and share food. Through sourcing locally and sustainably we can reduce food miles and reduce food waste as well as build social connections.”
You can find out more about Sustainable Merton here.
Featured image credit: Sustainable Merton