The Climate Crisis: Panel Discussion

By Robert Half on 27th May 2022

As worries around the climate crisis continue to grow, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) concerns have become boardroom topics and now holds high financial and non-financial value. With social and environmental responsibility becoming such an integral part of our everyday lives, Robert Half organised a sustainability panel session that gave viewers the chance to hear more from leading small-business experts.

  • Adam Bostock – founder of Small99
  • Laura Gelder-Robertson – Head of Innovation at Glow Innovation
  • Sam Zindel – Managing Director at Propellernet

Our guest panel dedicate their time and efforts to helping business leaders tackle the climate crisis and ultimately achieve net-zero status.

The wide-ranging discussion covered measuring your own carbon footprint, the impact we ourselves can have and what challenges and pushbacks business owners may face.

Understanding your carbon footprint

Our panel explained that though they have spent years trying to respond to these questions, it’s difficult to find a definitive answer, it’s actually more of a spectrum. One thing is essential: Focus on environmental issues that can change mindsets and drive action when it comes to your business’ day-to-day life.

In its simplest sense, making a conscious effort to measure your carbon footprint is essential to redirect and refocus your enterprise. Whilst you can do a lot of this yourself, you can also invest in helpful software such as Spherics, Ecologi Zero, Ditch Carbon and Normative to track not only your own carbon footprint but also benchmark it to other businesses and people.

What can you do to make an impact on the environment

Understanding your carbon footprint is a great step to take, but if you’re ready to do something activity based, you can hire a specialist to give you a boost. They can talk you through your carbon emissions and advise you on how you can make rapid improvements. You can reach out to Carbon Trust, C-free and Planet Mark for more help and inspiration.

As a small business, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking there is no way to make a difference, but Adam still believes we can get ourselves out of this situation. Small decisions can make a big difference, think less about rebuilding from the ground up, and think more about adopting smaller carbon-saving decisions that can deliver results.

Top 3 things you can do for the climate

  1. Measure – you can’t manage what you can’t measure
  2. Engage – unlocking your team’s passion and knowledge (try to include everyone and get them to engage with the issues)
  3. Communicate honestly – share your success as well as your struggles

Challenges and pushbacks

Collecting data that is accurate and complete is one of the main challenges our panel of experts say they face, since relevant data sources often still need to be developed or aren’t readily accessible. As with all new reporting and regulatory issues, it’ll take some time and more leg work before we will have access to the most valuable data, but given it takes time, it’s a wise investment to start early. Shifting culture and business inertia may pose some challenges, but small changes can make a big difference.

Try to bring your teams into the discussion, these important shifts involve everyone inside and outside your organisation. We need to try and get people to think collectively about tackling carbon and communities need to be built. Whether it’s word of mouth or social media, engaging and talking with your staff and your stakeholders will help to shine a light on this issue. It will also encourage more people to make a change, and their experience can serve to help each other.

Related: How important is ESG to jobseekers?

Main improvement recommended by speakers

If you look at the success rate of companies that moved into digital and ones that didn’t, you can see a clear difference. The main point here is, we should try to become more carbon aware. Sam recommends reading ‘How bad are bananas’ – a book on everything about carbon footprint and consumption that we need to be more aware of. Lauren also suggests thinking about carbon as a cost and to start including carbon costs in your budget. It comes as an expense that needs to be considered by all departments of your business, small and large.

We need to start working together to fight climate crisis, if we act as a community and make small changes every day, there is still hope that we can build a better future for ourselves and the generations that will follow. Please read more on the importance of ESG in business here.

You can watch the virtual event here:

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