Practical advice for 'greening' your business

Practical advice for 'greening' your business

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Your first steps to a 'green' business

1. Sign the Newcastle Net Zero business pledge

Don’t get left behind and join together with other local businesses, who have already pledged to support our ambitious Net Zero target, and take advantage of the opportunities going ‘green’ creates.

2. Visit the BIPC North East website

From here, you can:

  • find out about upcoming green business events and workshops
  • learn about why it makes business sense to 'go green'
  • book an appointment with an expert in residence
  • access MINTEL ‘green’ market data and free intellectual property advice to protect new low carbon innovations.

3. Visit the Business Energy Saving Team (BEST) website for energy support

Access energy saving advice and details on how to apply for a free energy audit and grant funding through the BEST project. 

Advice and resources

Visit the SME Climate HubZero Carbon Business website and the FSB Small Business Sustainability Hub to find lots of useful resources and guides to help you 'green' your business.

The Zero Carbon Business 'Get to Net Zero' tool allows you to select your sector and location, and provides a freely accessible, tailored plan to help you understand which areas of your business to target, what support is available and direct you to sector-specific advice.

Other useful resources include the Greenstreet Planet Friendly Guide (for retail businesses), VONNE Going Green Together website (for voluntary organisations) and WRAP Waste and Resources Action Programme (for circular economy advice).

For business energy saving advice, contact the Business Energy Saving Team (BEST), or for independent and impartial energy advice, visit Ofgem. Among others, the Carbon Trust sector-specific carbon-saving resources outline the main energy saving opportunities for businesses. The Zero Carbon Business website and Energy Saving Trust also have some useful tips for improving energy efficiency. 

For details of energy-saving products for businesses and the public sector, see the Energy Technology List. This is updated monthly by the government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Useful downloadable resources include the ‘SME Climate Hub 1.5°C Business Playbook’ and ‘The Carbon Trust: The journey to net zero for SMEs’ document.

Funding available in Newcastle

Newcastle East High Streets Grant Scheme 1: Empty Properties

Eligible businesses, organisations and social enterprises with an empty property or underused space in the project area* may be able to apply for a revenue grant up to £15,000 and capital grant up to £25,000, towards refurbishment and energy efficiency improvement costs. For more information, visit the Empty Properties Grant page.

* The project area includes Shields Road, Chillingham Road, Welbeck Road (western part between Bothal Street/ Allendale Road and Roman Avenue/ St. Anthony’s Road), Heaton Road and Heaton Park Road.

Greenstreet Newcastle

Greenstreet is an exciting new project we are piloting with businesses in the East End of Newcastle. We are looking to work with 20 – 25 businesses in and around the main high street areas of the East End of the city, to help them improve their environmental impact.

If you would be interested in participating in Greenstreet, please register your details on the Greenstreet website.

Vehicle Upgrade Grants

Owners of taxis, vans, buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles which are non-compliant with the Newcastle Gateshead Clean Air Zone, may be eligible for funding to help replace or upgrade their vehicles. For more information, visit the Vehicle Upgrade Grants page.

External funding opportunities

Grant funding and loans

The North of Tyne Green New Deal Fund can provide the public sector, SMEs and community schemes with up to 50% grant funding, loans and equity finance for low carbon projects costing between £200,000 and £2 million.

Loan schemes that may be used to finance energy saving and green growth initiatives include:

Opportunities for social enterprises, charities and community organisations

Social enterprises and charities may be eligible for loan finance between £20,000 and £150,000 from the Big Issue Invest: Big Energy Saving Loans scheme, which can be used for energy efficiency and renewable energy installations.

For larger projects that show how communities can address climate change while tackling the energy challenges through community-led climate action, The National Lottery Climate Action Fund - Energy and Climate may be able to provide grant funding of between £500,000 and £1.5 million between 2 and 5 years. Please note the funding cannot be used for capital costs of energy generation. This programme is available until at least December 2023.

Government incentives

Through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, domestic and small non-domestic properties may be able to benefit from:

  • £5,000 off the cost and installation of an air source heat pump.
  • £5,000 off the cost and installation of a biomass boiler – only in rural locations and properties that are not connected to the gas grid.
  • £6,000 off the cost and installation of a ground source heat pump.

The Workplace Charging Scheme can cover up to 75% of the purchase and installation costs of EV charge points for registered businesses, charities and public sector organisations.

Until 31st March 2024, landlords may be eligible for an EV Chargepoint Grant and EV Infrastructure Grant for residential and commercial properties.

Temporary tax reliefs until March 2026 mean limited companies paying corporation tax will be able to claim:

  • 100% first-year relief on qualifying new main rate plant and machinery.
  • 50% first-year allowance for expenditure on new special rate assets, including long-life assets such as solar panels and thermal insulation for buildings.
  • Until March 2025, businesses can also reclaim 100% first year allowances for zero-emission cars and goods vehicles.

Green skills training

The NELEP and NTCA are delivering a series of Green Skills Bootcamps. These are free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks for adults aged 19 or over and offer participants a guaranteed interview at the end of the bootcamp. See the list of current and upcoming Green Skills Bootcamps to sign up. New College Durham are delivering some of these bootcamps - see their website for more information.

The To NetZero course is a fully funded, online skills programme open to North of Tyne Combined Authority (Newcastle, North Tyneside, and Northumberland) residents who are over the age of 19 and are employed or running a business. The series of online workshops cover net zero, carbon foot printing, circular economy, ethical marketing and low-carbon coding, low carbon operations, and prioritising and planning. To sign up for the next course, visit the To NetZero website.

Jargon buster

Greenhouse gas – Gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, which are primarily released through the burning of coal, gas and oil.

Global warming – Increased levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have a warming effect on the earth (known as the greenhouse effect). This warming occurs at an increased rate as the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increases. Effects of global warming in the UK include more frequent severe weather events, increased risk of coastal flooding and the threat of certain wild species becoming extinct.

Scope emissions –Greenhouse gas emissions are split into 3 scope groups. Scope 1 emissions are those from business operations, e.g., gas boilers and company vehicles. Scope 2 are indirect emissions from the electricity purchased and used by your business. Scope 3 are all other emissions and this group is usually the largest; this includes those from the goods and services you purchase, transportation and distribution of products, employee commuting, business travel not using a company vehicle, those through the use of your products, the waste generated in operations and emissions associated with business investments.

Renewable energy – Energy derived from natural resources such as solar, wind, geothermal and tidal, therefore not releasing greenhouse gases or causing global warming.

Carbon sequestration – The process of removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, for example, by using new capture technologies or planting forests.

Net-Zero – A balanced state where the amount of greenhouse gases being emitted to the atmosphere is no more than what is being removed.

Sustainability – In business terms, ensuring you meet the current needs of your business without negatively impacting the environment. For example, a manufacturer may use recyclable packaging for their products. This meets their current need to transport their products safely, whilst also ensuring that the packaging can be recycled and reused once it is no longer needed.

Circular economy – Instead of the ‘take, make, dispose’ culture, a circular economy is based on that of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’. This is not only better for the environment, as less resources are required and less waste is produced, but it is also more cost-effective.

Greenwashing – This in when a business claims to be more environmentally friendly and sustainable than it actually is. Businesses may ‘greenwash’ their brand to appear more environmentally responsible and attract more customers. However, customers are very aware of this and often want to find out more information before believing these claims. The green claims code is a useful tool to check you're not 'greenwashing'.

Need more information?

To find out what support might be available to help 'green' your business, visit the BIPC Green Business website.

For energy saving advice and guidance, visit the BEST website.

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