Bradford city centre to pilot ‘green street’ initiative for SMEs

Bradford city centre has been chosen to pilot a new Government-backed Green Street initiative that aims to help small and independent businesses improve sustainability practices.

Bradford city centre to pilot ‘green street’ initiative for SMEs

Ursula Sutcliffe at Plant One on Me

The Green Street initiative was originally launched last year, with a website offering advice to UK SMEs in the retail and hospitality sector. The initiative has now evolved to launch a pilot “Green Street” that will be located in Bradford city centre.

Retail and hospitality businesses in the area are invited to access support as to how they can improve sustainability across their organisation. The pilot street has been backed with initial funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and is supported by the Retail Sector Council (RSC), Bradford Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority, with support from the European Regional Development Fund.

Local businesswomen Victoria Robertshaw is leading the pilot’s rollout. “Green Street is a truly innovative sustainability scheme that focuses on retail and hospitality businesses. It’s all about supporting those businesses and enabling them to work together to achieve more by becoming  greener. This not only helps the environment but can also positively influence shopping behaviour and impact their bottom line,” Robertshaw said.

“More and more consumers want to become greener and embrace lifestyle changes, and they’re looking for businesses that will help them make the transition. We also believe that by being more sustainable, it will help Green Street businesses cut costs, reduce waste, increase sales, as well as help the planet.”

The RSC acts as a strategic liaison between BEIS and the retail sector. It is urging businesses in Bradford to sign up to Green Street with 30 retail and hospitality businesses selected to take part in the pilot so far. Plans for a wider Green Street rollout across the UK will be discussed based on the success of the pilot.

Businesses that take part in the initiative will gain access to reviews from a range of experts who will uncover quick wins and cost savings based on sustainable actions. Financial benefits will also be measured across the trial in a bid to incentivise more businesses to take part in any expansions.

Retail success

An analysis of the climate footprint of dozens of the UK’s best-known retailers has revealed that the sector’s carbon emissions are down 49% on 2005 levels.

Published by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the figures cover more than 25% of the UK’s retail sector by turnover, accounting for all consortium members disclosing their carbon emissions. Sources of emissions covered include store operations and deliveries to and from stores.

The BRC had set its retailer members a target to deliver a 25% absolute reduction in emissions between 2005 and 2020. Overall, this target was far exceeded.

Despite this strong progress, the BRC said in a statement that there is “still much more” to be done to deliver the sector’s collaborative transition to net-zero by 2040 – ten years ahead of the UK Government’s legally binding deadline.

Report: Can the retail sector deliver a green recovery?

edie readers interested in the topics covered in this news story are encouraged to access the free Mission Possible: Green Recovery report on retail. 

Published in late 2020 with the support of Reconomy, the report outlines the challenges that retailers face in relation to the coronavirus pandemic, and the opportunities that the green recovery will bring, using first-person opinions from a steering group of experts in the sector, alongside the results of edie’s own survey of 240+ sustainability and energy professionals.  

Access the free report here. 

Matt Mace

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