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Sustainability

Zero Carbon Tour parks the bus on climate change

The Zero Carbon Tour, organised by sustainability advocates Planet Mark, has reached its conclusion, but the fight to reduce carbon emissions is only just beginning. What did the tour achieve, and what are the next steps?

Planet Mark – which provides education and certification to help members achieve their net zero goals – has produced a video showing the developments in net-zero construction, infrastructure and education they saw across the UK during the tour:

Between April and November last year, the 100% electric bus travelled the length and breadth of the country, including a stop at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.

Tour highlights:
  • More than 8,000 people attended events and site visits

  • More than 120 locations visited

  • More than 200 ‘carbon stories’ shared

  • Members reduced carbon footprints by an average of 23% in 2020

Andrew says: “This tour was a huge success. It surpassed all of our expectations. We had amazing turnouts at the events and the press coverage we received was incredible.

“The biggest takeaway from a business perspective was that most SMEs want to reduce their carbon footprints, but don’t know how to. And because they are tighter on resources to do so than large companies, it becomes a bigger challenge.”

Planet Mark can help these businesses put together a net zero action plan, he says.

Support for businesses towards net zero

NatWest, as a principal partner of COP26, supported the Zero Carbon Tour and other initiatives to help businesses make changes that can make a real difference in the climate crisis.

Andrew Harrison, Managing Director of Business Banking at NatWest, says: “We’re committed to signposting the most effective ways for SMEs in all sectors to reduce their emissions, and also take advantage of the growth opportunity that exists in going greener.”

The biggest takeaway from a business perspective was that most SMEs want to reduce their carbon footprints, but don’t know how to .

Andrew Griffiths
Director of Community and Partnerships, Planet Mark

Planet Mark plans to follow up the success of the tour with a series of regularly scheduled events, in collaboration with local authorities and business groups up and down the country.

SMEs need a net zero action plan

Adds Andrew Griffiths: “Our members have reduced their carbon footprints by, on average, 23% in 2020. Even though that was a year greatly affected by Covid-19, it’s still impressive.”

With government legislation regarding carbon reporting for companies recently being announced, he says it’s urgent that SMEs put an actionable, targeted plan together as soon as possible.

It might appear that the legislation only affects the bigger companies, but those companies all have supply networks of SMEs who will have to comply with the regulated companies’ new rules, he says.

“The effects of the regulations will trickle down,” he says. “And it can take two years to put a net zero action plan into practice.”

For more information, visit Planet Mark’s website. You can share your own carbon story here.

Download the report

Planet Mark's report on the Zero Carbon Tour 2021 (PDF, 1.9MB)

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