This week is Zero Waste Week, a campaign started by Rachelle Strauss following the Boscastle Floods of 2004, which has gained momentum and become an international movement. As a society, we are all becoming more aware of the need to consider our impact on the planet, and as businesses, we are asked by our clients to ensure that our services are delivered with as much environmental consciousness as possible.
In order to address climate change, central government has started to require a Net Zero Carbon strategy from providers and we expect to see waste management and the environmental impacts of activities become an increasingly important part of tender responses as we move forward. Here are some of the things we consider when writing tenders for small businesses.
Communication and Engagement
- Promote your participation in events like Zero Waste Week, or your other initiatives using social media. There are resources available, including a waste audit, from the ZWW website.
- Promote waste reduction through staff communications, such as toolbox talks, staff newsletters, business updates, and team meetings. Include your Net Zero Carbon strategy or Waste Management Strategy as part of your annual report.
- Consider appointing an Environmental Champion in the business, someone who can do the research necessary to help you in your waste targets.
- Include waste management in your staff handbook, and your induction process to ensure that it is recognised as a key priority to all new hires.
- Reach out to local CIC’s/voluntary groups (or help to set groups like this up) with a focus on environment and waste reduction
- Include waste reduction tips on any comms with customers; for example newsletters to residents in planned maintenance schemes, or creating a recycling drive as part of your FM delivery.
- You cannot drop to Net Zero/Zero Waste immediately, you will need to develop a pathway and policy to guide you on your journey to achieving these.
- Consider focus weeks to change behaviours, such as no single-use plastics or focusing on energy consumption. These can happen at multiple levels; individual’s responsibility, company-wide, and on a community level – for example, community repair shops (these make a great social value initiative, your company can set this up and the benefits will be harvested for years to come).
- You can also share your knowledge of waste reduction within the communities that you work (including school visits) or through your supply chain to help drive continuous improvement.
- Measurement is important, both to measure your own progress, but also to demonstrate it to clients – this is the sort of data that sets tenders apart.
- Start by gathering a baseline for your company, or that particular contract.
- You can then measure progress, engaging staff or customers with your activity through a wasteometer or similar which shows what has been achieved.
- Work with your clients to understand what data they want to see from you in terms of waste management, but if they haven’t asked for that information don’t be shy of communicating that as a value-add.
- Keep evidence of your initiatives to use as collateral for future bids, for example, photographs, case studies, testimonials, etc.
- Use every activity as a learning exercise, sharing best practice internally, with clients, stakeholders, and your supply chain.
With the increasing acceptance of a climate emergency, reducing waste and considering the environmental impacts of our actions is only going to become more important as time goes on. It is important that your activities are not just ‘green washing’ but that they provide measurable improvements that will support your clients on their own zero waste journeys.
If you need support to communicate the work you are doing with regard to waste reduction and environmental responsibility; we can help! Get in touch today to learn more.