Your net zero plan

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Understand your business emissions

1) What causes emissions

Direct carbon emissions produced by businesses in the education sector:

  • energy use – electricity and gas for lighting, heating and office equipment
  • general waste – when it’s not recycled and ends up at landfill sites
  • travel – using petrol or diesel vehicles to get to work or deliver services

2) Calculate your emissions

Use a carbon calculator to work out your business’s carbon footprint. This is measured in tonnes, over a year.

3) Estimate the cost of your emissions

Once you have your carbon footprint, you can calculate how much your emissions are costing you. This will give you an idea of potential savings you can make by taking action.

4) Sign up to the SME climate commitment

Make a climate declaration to show customers you are committed to reducing emissions.

Get support

1) Support in your sector

The following organisations provide sustainability guidance within the education sector:

2) Support in your region

The following grants, schemes and loan programmes are available in the North West England:

  • Chamber Low Carbon gives SMEs free ‘1-2-1’ consulting to improve energy efficiency and develop low carbon products. Must be based in Lancashire.
  • LCR Future Energy gives SMEs matching funds up to £7,500 towards consulting costs to help develop products, systems and processes for a green supply chain – must be located in Liverpool City Region
  • Low Carbon Lake District gives SMEs matching funding up to £20,000 for low carbon energy generation, energy efficiency and sustainable transport – must be located or operate in the Lake District National Park area
  • GC Business Growth Hub provides fully funded resource efficiency support to SMEs located in Greater Manchester – includes a virtual Journey to Net Zero programme for SMEs that are at an early stage on their path to net zero emissions

Actions you can take right now

1) Save energy at your workplace

Quick, low-cost measures include:

  • lighting – use LED bulbs for greater efficiency
  • heating – put your thermostat on a timer and seal your windows for extra insulation
  • office equipment – try to turn off and unplug devices when they’re not being used

2) Do an energy walk-round

Walk around your buildings and see where energy is being used:

  1. Prepare a checklist. Look at lighting, office equipment and ventilation.
  2. Identify wasteful energy use and maintenance issues.
  3. Check at different times of day and compare day and night time use.
  4. Monitor over a period of a week for accurate average figures.
  5. Make sure equipment is checked and cleaned regularly to ensure maximum efficiency.

Longer term actions

1) Making changes to your workplace

If you are the legal owner, there are a number of long-term measures you can take to improve energy efficiency.

Check planning permission guidelines before you go ahead with any structural changes to the property.

Improving insulation and windows

You can make long-term savings on energy bills by insulating your workplace and replacing old windows.

Installing renewables

You can also make significant long-term savings by installing renewable sources of energy.

For example:

Get training in energy efficiency

You can train your team to be aware of energy efficiency in the workplace. Find a course

2) Reducing transport emissions

Over a quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions are caused by transport. You can take measures to reduce the impact.

If you have employees you could introduce a cycle-to-work initiative or encourage them to take public transport.

Electric vehicles

If you use a vehicle for work, you can reduce emissions by switching to an electric vehicle (EV). You would be exempt from road tax, congestion charges and parking fees in certain areas.

For easy overnight charging you could install EV chargers at your home or workplace. A government grant scheme covers up to £350 per charging point.

Find out more about reducing the impact of transport

Indirect emissions

To reduce indirect or ‘supply chain’ emissions you need to consider what happens before and after your business provides a service or makes a product.

1) Choose greener ‘upstream’ suppliers and products

  • use suppliers that measure and reduce carbon
  • help your suppliers with carbon reduction projects
  • buy products that take less energy to make, transport and operate

2) Reduce emissions ‘downstream’ of your business

  • make products that take less energy to make, transport and operate
  • reduce water consumption and waste disposal needs
  • make investments in lower carbon financial products
  • give incentives for lower emission activities in leased assets or franchises

3) Certify your supply chain action

The Carbon Trust offers the following verification schemes:

Share your progress

Sharing your progress will help employees and customers feel confident that you’re reducing carbon and moving towards net zero.

You should share your progress once you’ve done both of the following:

  • worked out a benchmark of emissions
  • started to take action

Find out more about how to track and share your progress