Tour

UK businesses inspiring change

After a successful charge before heading back to London in the Carbon Battle Bus, the last few days of the Zero Carbon Tour were spent visiting our members; finding out their sustainability achievements and targets to encourage meaningful action among the business community.

Words:
Steve Malkin
Images:
Planet Mark
Visiting GreenZone
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Fooditude and GreenZone on Wednesday 16 June

Back in London and first on the list of members we visited was Fooditude, an office catering provider for London’s most forward-thinking businesses. Having been Planet Mark certified for two years, Fooditude is committed to reducing their carbon footprint and having a positive impact on planet and society: from the way their food is sourced right through to the way their packaging is disposed by the customer.

Speaking with the team at Fooditude, including Director of Food Matt Byne, Head of Operations Alison Hester-Lloyd, Company Executive Chef Alex Bailey and Marketing Manager Swati Deshpande; it was clear that sustainability is embedded within every area of the business.

We discussed with Fooditude tangible projects and initiatives they were undertaking to reduce their carbon emissions. From reducing food waste to the latest in plant-based food alternatives and their new dishwashers that have significantly reduced water and energy usage; it was inspiring to hear stories of meaningful action occurring within the industry.

Next, we travelled to GreenZone Cleaning and Support Services who have been part of the Planet Mark community for nearly a decade and are a leading commercial cleaning company delivering commercial and residential cleaning and associated soft services. An early pioneer of sustainable practice, we discussed how to inspire and encourage transformational change within the industry.  

GRIDSERVE Braintree on Thursday 17 June

We met with the incredible team at GRIDSERVE in Braintree, Essex; the UK’s first Electric Forecourt to discuss its efforts to help the country de-carbonise and upscale the infrastructure needed for mass EV adoption. Planet Mark Founder and CEO Steve Malkin sat down with Chief Development Officer at GRIDSERVE Raoul Tufnell and Manager at GRIDSERVE Braintree Jack Short to learn more about its plans to change the face of EV, while supporting government policies. GRIDSERVE has recently secured Electric Highway, previously owned by Ecotricity, with plans to upgrade existing chargers and plant over 100+ Electric Forecourts around the UK.

Part of its wider strategy to deliver critical power infrastructure involves ensuring its services are affordable, accessible, straightforward, and dependable. Its partnerships with British brands including WHSmith, Post Office and Costa Coffee seeks to deliver a unique customer-focused charging experience, an important differentiator when the UK charging infrastructure becomes widespread.

Childbase and Prologis on Friday 18 June

The penultimate stop on the first leg of the Tour saw us visit two Childbase nurseries. We were greeted by Health Safety and Environment Director Mark Bird and some of the children from Hampstead Gate and Woodlands Nurseries.
Mark highlighted how Childbase’s employee-owned structure had lent itself to achieving carbon reductions, thanks to the ownership and accountability among each member of their team.

He explained how Childbase were looking to maximise this opportunity and saw the ZeroBy30 programme as the perfect vehicle to reduce their impacts across the supply-chain.

As a result, all 44 of their nurseries are now green flag holders, making Childbase the largest provider of green nurseries in the sector. Children at every age are involved in the ongoing eco-project, from babies using recycled paper from the shredder for sensory activities, to older children creating bug hotels for insect observations and growing vegetables in the garden which are then picked and used in meals by talented Nursery Chefs.

The chefs, also invested in the sustainability programme, have introduced vegetarian and vegan days, educating children about where their produce comes from, and engaging parents in the process.

In another initiative to achieve ‘net zero’ emissions by 2030, Childbase joined forces with Futhr, to coordinate its ‘Sustainable Travel Challenge’. Short surveys on colleague and customer travel habits are incentivised with Amazon gift token prize draws and trophies for settings recording the most improvement.

We introduced the children to the Carbon Battle Bus and left Woodlands Day Nursery with a sense of optimism and pride as to the knowledge of sustainable practices being imparted onto the next generations across Childbase sites.

We were then welcomed at Prologis Park Hemel Hempstead for the final stop on the first leg of the Tour.

The Park, one of Prologis UK’s most important logistics locations, houses six buildings, all of which are among the most sustainable in the country and certified as net zero in construction.

Our hosts for the day Director of Marketing and Communications Nicki Whittaker and Sir Mike Penning MP issued a rallying call for businesses in the Hemel Hempstead area to kickstart their net zero journeys.

Speaking about the importance of helping businesses accelerate their sustainability plans, Mr. Penning said: “Local businesses, big and small, are fully aware of the direction we are heading in and see the business sense in reaching zero emissions well before 2050; however, some businesses lack the funds or networks to help them access advice and support, which is why I have invited the Planet Mark team back to Hemel Hempstead in the Autumn to deliver a series of free net zero carbon workshops.

“I am particularly proud of the carbon reduction initiatives I have already witnessed across Dacorum, including extensive tree-planting and some great examples of sustainable design and development. I hope as many local businesses as possible will take advantage of these workshops.”

You can read about the Zero Carbon Tour’s launch in London here and the journey to the Eden Project in Cornwall for the G7 Summit here. 
What is the business case for sustainability?

Thursday 21 February 2024, 1:00-2:00 PM

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