Joining the Low Carbon Business Network

Earlier this year, my company joined the Low Carbon Business Network. It’s been incredibly helpful and rewarding so I want share my experience, talk about some of the benefits and hopefully inspire more business owners to join similar green growth initiatives.

What is the Low Carbon Business Network?

The Low Carbon Business Network is a free service for East Midlands based SMEs to learn more about embracing the shift towards a low carbon economy. The issue of climate change is not going away and the UK Industrial Strategy shows that adopting a clean growth mindset is integral to doing business.

The project is a collaboration between the University of Derby Business School, the Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering (IISE) and Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council. It is partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds growth programme 2014-2020.

The network offers support including:

  • Environmental management systems & green accreditation
  • Leadership & entrepreneurial skills
  • Building a low carbon business case
  • Low carbon procurement and purchasing
  • Greening supply chains
  • LEAN green logistics
  • Sustainable marketing and brand integrity
  • Carbon accounting
  • Principles of circular economy
System value business infographic
A helpful diagram from a workshop presentation by Dr. Fred Paterson, Sustainable Business and the Green Economy, Low Carbon Business Network Project Lead.

My reasons for joining:

  1. I want to run a sustainable and environmentally responsible business that respects and protects our natural world.┬áIt’s important for everyone to do everything within their abilities to prevent climate breakdown and ecological collapse.
  2. I’m passionate about working on projects that communicate and share knowledge on environmental themes.
As my business mainly provides creative digital services and has already implemented an environmental policy, there was little more we could do to reduce our carbon footprint. However the network provided a great deal of support for developing my business and connecting with other low carbon and green business owners. Over the summer of 2019 I took part in the Low Carbon Business Network’s Green Growth Accelerator Programme.

The Green Growth Accelerator Programme included:

  • Two half day workshops on sustainable business development.
  • A “Pitch Green” event where I presented my business and strategy to a panel of experts for feedback (Like Dragon’s Den but greener!).
  • Five hours of marketing consultancy advice.
  • Help gaining the Green Mark Level 1 environmental accreditation.
  • Advice, support and knowledge from the Low Carbon Business Network team.
  • Events and opportunities to meet other businesses interested in sustainability.
The Pitch Green Presentation
The “Pitch Green” event where I presented my business and strategy to a panel of experts for feedback (Like Dragon’s Den but greener!).

The benefits for my business

  • We developed a green growth strategy for my business.
  • I learned more about green growth, the low carbon economy and sustainable and regenerative business practices.
  • I was able to access knowledge, support and expertise from the lovely folk running the Low Carbon Business Network Project.
  • Meeting other low carbon businesses.
  • Invitations to membership network events.
  • My business gained the Green Mark Level 1 environmental accreditation.
  • I gained more experience and confidence in pitching my business.
  • Having structured time to focus on business development. This can be hard to find when you’re busy working on the client side of the business!

Although the Green Growth accelerator programme has concluded, I am still part of the network and will be attending the network’s future events. If you’re an East Midlands business, let me know if you join and be sure to say hello at any events!

A Green Animation Showreel

As part of the Pitch Green presentation, I edited together some clips from animations I’ve created for environmental and sustainability projects. From local council recycling campaigns to research into conserving rain forest ecosystems, I’ve had the pleasure of helping to communicate many different environmental causes.