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John Watt

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Undertaking transformative changes to tackle climate breakdown is now more important than ever. The 2021 climate report, released by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, detailed the impact of climate breakdown, from rapidly rising sea levels to extremes of hot weather and emphasised the urgency of action. Due to the geographical region that Cumbria occupies, it has an increased risk of drought and flooding. However, the county also has the potential to be a climate leader and networks in Cumbria are working towards transforming Cumbria into a carbon-neutral county by 2037.

Businesses have a corporate responsibility to meet the demand for sustainability. This will not only attract eco-conscious consumers, but it can also improve the bottom line through innovation, saving money through efficiencies, and protecting against potential carbon taxes and green policy changes as the UK moves towards net-zero carbon.

This Roadmap is designed to help Cumbrian Small Medium-sized Enterprise’s (SME’s) in the food and drink sector achieve the net-zero carbon ambition by signposting to resources that will aid SME’s on different parts of their journey. The Roadmap encourages a proactive approach to the net-zero carbon aim through integrating strategy and sustainable practice.

How to Use the Roadmap

This roadmap is designed in a simple format to help SMEs move towards becoming carbon net-zero without facing barriers such as inaccessible resources, unactionable resources and information overload. To use the document, you simply move downwards through each section (in essence, travelling down the road to carbon net-zero!) and find the resources which meet your sustainability needs.

Each section is in a table format, with a question, a description and a link. The question allows you to find information based on what you may have considered in your own business. The description section gives an overview of the resource that is linked. The link can be clicked on to access the resource – all of the links provide actionable information to help you move closer to your carbon net-zero goals.

To make the most of the roadmap, SMEs should start at the beginning (in the
‘Pledge’ section), and move down through the sections, asking questions about their business and accessing the links to create actionable change.

Not all questions have easy solutions, and some steps may prove harder than others – but the nature of making the climate pledge is committing to big and small change and recognising that every change will make a difference!


Is there any financial support available for buying efficient equipment?You can claim capital allowances from the UK government for buying energy and water efficient equipment for your business.Claim capital allowance – GOV.UK (

On the left of this table is a question about financial support for buying efficient equipment – an SME who is considering investing in electric car chargers may read the description to determine if it is a suitable resource and follow the link to begin making a change in their business. In this case, the link is to the government page which contains relevant information about how to claim capital allowances for buying energy-efficient equipment.

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Where can I make a commitment to becoming carbon net zero?The SME climate hub offers a form through which businesses can commit to becoming carbon net zero as well as halving greenhouse gas emissions and sharing progress with other SMEs who have committed to the pledge.
The Edie: Mission Possible Pledge Wall allows SMEs to see the pledges of other SMEs and add their own.
Where can I take my first steps in making my business carbon net zero?Positive planet details the benefits of becoming carbon net zero, and offers guidance on first steps to SMEs.
Where can I meet likeminded business owners?Here is a list of Cumbrian sustainability groups which may be useful for gaining insights, sharing ideas and maintaining accountability in the carbon net zero journey.

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Where can I calculate my business’ carbon footprint?This Carbon Footprint Calculator has been designed to help UK based SMEs measure their corporate emission footprint following GHG Protocol Guidance.
Positive Planet provides a tool to measure and understand your business’ carbon emissions.
Where can I benchmark my business’ energy usage?Carbon Trust’s benchmark tool has been designed to help UK based small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) assess the typical energy use in their sector.
Where can I understand more about my business’ emissions?Green at Heart and Carbon Trust both offer general enquiry forms and hotlines for business owners to enquire about the energy usage of their business.
How can I assess whether I should make changes to lighting in my business?The Lighting Business Case Tool has been designed to help UK based SMEs assess the potential for investing in more energy efficient solutions.

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How can I plan to reduce my business’ carbon emissions?The 1.5°C Business Playbook outlines some actions and key measures you can take to reduce your own emissions on pp. 16-17 and your value chain emissions on pp. 18-19.
Green Small Business have created a guide for developing an environmental policy.
What are some initial steps I can take to reduce my business’ carbon emissions?The SME climate hub outlines some steps you can take to cut your emissions.
This document outlines some areas where you can take action with minimum cost and time commitment.Please refer to further resources
How can I offset my business’ carbon emissions?The following UK based initiatives offer certified carbon offsetting services.
(Note: carbon offsetting is not the solution to climate breakdown and should be used alongside efforts to cut carbon emissions rather than in isolation)

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How can I improve my business’ energy efficiency?The Department of Energy and Climate Change produced an SME Guide to Energy Efficiency. This is a practical guide with tried and tested advice and complete with case studies.DECC_advice_guide.pdf
Carbon Trust provide introductory guides to reduce your business’ carbon footprint.
Electricity North West suggests ways that you can be energy efficient.
WebstaurantStore provide 10 energy conservation tips for restaurants
Is there any guidance for implementing energy efficiency as a start-up business?Carbon Trust have produced a guide for implementing energy efficiency as a start-up. This guide is also useful for businesses moving into a new premises or retrofitting an existing one.
Is there any financial support available for buying efficient equipment?You can claim capital allowances from the UK government for buying energy and water efficient equipment for your business.
How do I invest in energy efficiency?Carbon Trust have produced a guide for SME’s to finance energy efficiency projects.
Who is the best green energy supplier in the UK?Green Square outlines the best green energy suppliers in the UK, detailing their ethos’, tariffs and the percentage of green energy. Green Energy UK produces gas through anaerobic digestion, making it the only UK supplier who provides 100% green gas and electricity.
There are other factors which must be taken into account when switching energy supplier. Forbes Advisor and T3 weigh out the pros and cons of the best green energy suppliers and carry out a price comparison.
Where can I find suppliers to help me with improving my business’ energy efficiency?CAfS’ Cumbria Green Building and Lifestyle Directory includes a wide range of suppliers for renewable energy, low energy builds, electric vehicles, energy consultancy and more.

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How can I reduce my transport emissions?Energy Saving Trust detail steps you can take to reduce your transport emissions.
Energy Saving Trust also lay out some guidance for managing mileage which will reduce transport costs and emissions.
Good Energy have created a guide for businesses who are considering making the switch to electric vehicles.
Where can I access financial support for installing electric vehicle charging points?Charge My Street is a community benefit society looking to fund host sties for electric vehicle charging points in Cumbria. You can apply to be a host site through their website.
You can apply for the UK Government’s Workplace Charging Scheme which will give you a voucher for installing electric vehicle charging points.Guidance:
Application form:
Where can I access financial support for buying low-emission vehicles?The UK Government’s Plug in Grant Scheme can give you a discount when buying brand new low-emission vehicles.
Is there any guidance for implementing a cycle to work scheme?The Department of Transport have created a guide for employers on setting up a cycle to work scheme.

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Where can I find carbon net zero suppliers?The Edie website has a dedicated search to find suppliers who are carbon net zero.
Where can I find a supplier for catering disposables?Vegware is a trusted supplier who provide plant-based catering disposables.
Who can I contact for information about local suppliers?Olio is a free app for businesses to join and share hints and tips about local suppliers.
Where can I find sustainable food suppliers in Cumbria?McClures is a wholesale food supplier based in Windermere which is committed to sustainability. You can also see their environmental policy here.
Fell & Dales Catering is a food catering business. The meat is supplied from the owners’ farms which are protected by stewardship schemes and located in Cumbria.
Lake District Farmers supply top quality meat products and aim to embed sustainability in farming practices and facilitate a sustainable supply chain.
Westmorland Packaging provide a range of sustainable catering supplies such as compostable food packaging and degradable and recycled bags.

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How can I manage food waste in my restaurant?86 Food Waste provide a guide which is dedicated to providing information on reducing food waste in the restaurant industry.2021_86FoodWaste_Report_Update.pdf
As a retailer, how can I waste less food?The Climate Collaborative have created a breakdown of retailer best practises to waste less food.CC_Food_Waste_Best_Practices_070819.pdf
Working in the hospitality industry, how can I reduce food waste?Hotel Kitchen is an interactive toolkit to help full-service hotels reduce food waste. This resource can also be applied to restaurants, cruises and catering services.
How can I make my water management more sustainable?Edie provides many resources and case studies surrounding tested methods of sustainable water management.
How can I make my packaging more sustainable?Webinar: Yin and Yang – Understanding and conveying advantages of your sustainable product packaging and
helpful guidance on sustainable packaging.
Webinar: Yin and Yang – Understanding and Conveying Advantages of your Sustainable Product Packaging – The Climate Collaborative
How can I commit to reducing our use of plastic?Businesses can commit to reducing plastic waste through the UK’s Plastic Pact.
Edie’s mission possible plastic hub page is dedicated to solving plastic problems.

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Quick Wins

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle




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Climate Collaborative – Resources on agriculture, energy efficiency, food-waste, forests, packaging, policy, renewable energy, pollutants, and transportation. Complete with assessment tools, case-studies, toolkits and webinars:

Energy Saving Trust – SME case studies on reducing transport costs and improving carbon footprints:

Sustainable Business Partnership – Case studies on businesses which have undertaken sustainability initiatives:

Edie – Mission Possible: Achieving a Green Recovery for Hospitality and Leisure:–Achieving-a-green-recovery-for-hospitality-leisure/504

Edie – This page explains concepts around sustainability such as the circular economy and net-zero carbon heating:

Edie – Jargon Buster:

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