How one SME is playing its part in the Green Industrial Revolution

Vision 2030 director and NatWest Accelerator entrepreneur Gary Weston shares his views on how business owners can reduce their energy usage, costs and carbon footprint, and why climate education is vital to progress after COP26.

As a provider of renewable and energy-efficient products as well as bespoke funding options, Gary Weston’s business, Vision 2030, is playing a key role in this ‘revolution’. 

Although great progress is being made by many organisations, and the Glasgow Climate Pact agreed at COP26 will accelerate action on climate, Gary believes more needs to be done to reduce carbon now. And it starts with small, incremental steps.

Make an environmental, social and governance (ESG) plan

Engaging your workforce is a crucial first step, says Gary. After that, embed a joined-up decision-making process into the business; establish a reporting procedure to show what success looks like; and break down long-term targets into manageable gains. 

“We should be praising the actions that are making a difference already,” says Gary, pointing to how courier companies and supermarkets are swapping their fleets to electric vehicles. Reducing your carbon footprint and becoming more energy efficient doesn’t have to require grand long-term plans, he adds: “Small changes can make a big difference.”

Seek help on where to start

Organisations should start by drawing up a green agenda to reduce their energy cost, energy usage and carbon footprint, says Gary. There is an increasing number of sources to seek advice from, as well as numerous green finance options. 

Why don’t we train up solar installers and put vocational training on a par with university training, for example? We can’t all be IT specialists or lawyers

Gary Weston
Founder and director, Vision 2030

To date, the UK has announced a series of robust actions on green finance, including launching a new UK green taxonomy, green sovereign gilts, and a national infrastructure bank.

Change mindsets to embrace change

Vision 2030 has been working with Bristol City Council to help it meet its target of being carbon neutral by 2030. Gary says collective action helps organisations join the dots between sourcing funding, accessing green schemes, and finding the skills and talent to drive the green agenda forward. Changing the behaviour of decision-makers through education will be key. 

“We need solar panels on roofs,” he says. “Why don’t we try to train up solar installers and put vocational training on a par with university training, for example? We can’t all be IT specialists or lawyers. I think we need to review our educational programme, introduce climate to the curriculum, and invite tradespeople into schools so children can see the avenues available to them.”

How a carbon tax might work

Households are facing a steep increase in their energy prices due to supply and demand on the global wholesale market. The increase means more people are thinking about the way they consume energy, says Gary. He believes a recommendation to charge a carbon tax similar to council tax and business rates would be effective.

“You can cite if you’ve got a carbon-neutral home and get credits for the measures you’ve taken to reduce the carbon footprint of the building,” he says. “For example, LED light bulbs, insulation, PV solar panels, low-carbon heating… all of those would be a credit, which comes off your bill. That’s part of the education.”

If you’re a high-growth business with ambitions to expand, the NatWest Accelerator programme could help. Whether you’re looking to build your team, venture into new markets or seek further investment, this could help you gain the knowledge and skills to excel in a range of business areas.

Find out more about NatWest Accelerator.

NatWest Accelerator programme (PDF, 137KB)

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