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“Good to receive thoughts and guidance in what can be a very complicated process.”
Mike Radlett, Carville Switchgear, Burgess Hill
Event Report: Utilise Plus Celebration at the Royal Pavilion
On a sunny afternoon in September, the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC welcomed their valued colleagues and collaborators to the King William IV room at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. This special event marked the end of the SBP CIC’s Utilise Plus programme, which was launched in November 2017.
After some refreshments and networking, the SBP CIC’s Jack Dale welcomed guests and gave an overview of the achievements of Utilise Plus. Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Utilise Plus has engaged with around 300 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them to reduce their costs and greenhouse gas emissions by saving energy. Jack explained the motivation behind Utilise Plus; with electricity and gas prices rising slowly but surely, saving energy not only makes good business sense but it’s also common sense! With a Climate Emergency declared by the government earlier this year – partly in response to the ongoing Extinction Rebellion protests, as well as the United Nation’s warning that an irreversible climate catastrophe could occur within the next decade – reducing energy consumption is essential to protect our planet. With various complimentary services on offer through Utilise Plus, the SBP CIC are well on-track to achieve a staggering saving of 1,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by the end of September 2019.
After Jack’s presentation, it was time to hear from Nicki Carter, Retail Manager at the Royal Pavilion. Nicki told us that retail isn’t just about making money anymore and is now putting greater emphasis on being ethical, particularly when it comes to sourcing products made from sustainable materials, which she does for the Pavilion’s shop.
Last but not least, we heard from the SBP CIC’s Shelaine Siepel who looked at the future of sustainable business…through the medium of fruit! With the SBP CIC turning 21 years old in 2019, Shelaine reflected on the types of businesses she’s come into contact with. Some of them are green zebra tomatoes – they’re green on the outside and on the inside. These businesses are doing the right thing and know it! Others are black sapotes – they’re green on the outside but black on the inside. These businesses are greenwashing to make themselves appear a lot greener than they actually are. Shelaine explained that it’s usually bigger corporations that are guilty of being black sapotes. Generally, the organisations the SBP CIC have worked with through Utilise Plus have been kiwanos – they’re not green on the outside but they are on the inside. Shelaine explained how these businesses rarely highlight how sustainable they are because it’s become part-and-parcel of their everyday operations. Finally, Shelaine looked to the future and predicted a rise in organisations genuinely caring about being sustainable rather than only doing it for marketing purposes and reaching our national net-zero emissions target by 2050.
After the talks, it was time for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Royal Pavilion lead by Anne French. While sustainability definitely wasn’t a big thing in Georgian England, interior design was! The rooms were beautifully decorated with rich silks, sparkling gold, and ornate wood, so much so that George IV needed a much duller room in between them to give himself a break from all the splendour. After the tour, the event came to a close with more refreshments and networking in the King William IV room.
This event was funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). At the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC, we love hearing from passionate speakers, exciting venues, and enthusiastic event partners. If you’d like to work with us then please get in touch.