Mayor of London supports Bankside businesses helping tackle the climate emergency

  • Date Friday, 3 February 2023
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Kate Turnbull

40 Bankside businesses have been chosen to take part in the Mayor of London’s Business Climate Challenge alongside over 160 businesses across London.

The Business Climate Challenge (BCC) will support the businesses, including more than 20 General Practices to reduce their energy costs and cut carbon emissions. The programme provides free technical support worth £6,000 to each business to help them make their workplace operations more energy efficient.

Bankside businesses include the Africa Centre, Utobeer, Uncommon, Pension Bee, Origin Coffee, Glaziers Hall, To the Point and many more.

The BCC supports businesses across a wide range of sectors, including those hardest hit by the soaring cost of doing business: hospitality, fitness, arts and culture, and health. One in five London businesses reported that either their output or both their output and suppliers were affected by the increase in energy prices. All 40 businesses will receive support to lower their energy costs and cut carbon emissions, as part of the Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Business Climate Challenge to help firms tackle the climate emergency and achieve London’s target of reaching net-zero by 2030. The programme has the potential to save 15,000 tonnes of CO2e if businesses achieve their 10% reduction targets.

Commercial buildings in London make up 18 per cent of London’s carbon footprint so they have a big part to play in helping London reach our net zero climate target by 2030 but rising fuel and energy costs are hitting London’s businesses hard, as they continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

According to the latest 2023 ONS Business Insights and Conditions Survey one in five London businesses reported that either their production, or both their production and suppliers were affected by the increase in energy prices. Due to price increases, about half of businesses have had to absorb costs and 22 per cent had to pass on price increases to consumers.

The Mayor has long called for Government to invest in multi-year retrofit and renewables programmes to help all Londoners, including businesses, to achieve greater energy efficiency – the only way to bring down bills and address the climate crisis.

Launched in Bankside in 2021 as a pilot programme and developed with support from Bloomberg Associates, the pro bono consulting arm of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the first round of the BCC helped 19 organisations, including Shakespeare’s Globe and London Marathon Events, reduce their energy use by 16 per cent.  Reducing energy consumption is crucial to weathering the cost of living crisis for businesses – businesses who participated in the BCC in 2021 could save on average £15,774 on their bills annually. The pilot covered 34,452 m2 of workplaces in Better Bankside BID and saved 314,000 KGs of CO2e emissions in its first year.

In addition to helping 200 businesses directly this year, the BCC is also developing a suite of publicly available resources to help educate businesses across London about reducing their energy use. These materials will include three training courses and 12 ‘how-to’ guides focused on demystifying energy use, decarbonisation and how businesses can kickstart their net zero journey.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Kahn said: “The cost-of-living crisis has deeply affected business in the capital and they are facing tough decisions on whether to adequately heat and light their premises or save money on energy bills.

“No business should face the risk of shutting down due to energy price shocks. The Business Climate Challenge is an excellent way for businesses across London to gain the confidence, knowledge and tools they need to help cut their energy costs, save energy, reduce their emissions and futureproof their organisations.

“We saw some great results from the pilot scheme in 2021 and I’m glad we’ve been able to extend this scheme to support an additional 200 businesses. However, there is still much more to be done in order to build a better London for everyone – a safer, greener and more prosperous city for all.”

Nicole Gordon, CEO of Better Bankside, a BCC partner on the 2021 pilot and this years programme said: “Business Improvement Districts play a crucial part in London’s urban governance and economy. As one of the first BIDs in the UK, Better Bankside has over twenty years’ experience in delivering innovative projects that support businesses to drive change and navigate evolving challenges. Of the many challenges faced by business right now, the climate emergency and rising energy costs are high priorities, but time, investment and expertise can be barriers to taking action. The Business Climate Challenge has been a brilliant opportunity for us to support Bankside businesses to reduce their energy consumption – cutting emissions whilst saving on energy bills.

“We are delighted to be able to support and celebrate businesses committed to energy savings, firstly as the test bed neighbourhood in the pilot, through to the full scale up challenge this year. In total, 60 Bankside businesses have taken on the Mayor of London’s challenge with enthusiasm, with many exceeding the 10% carbon reduction target. As the Government Energy Bill Relief Scheme draws to an end, these programmes are proving that reduction of commercial emissions is not only paramount to contributing to London’s target of becoming a zero carbon city by 2030 but that by reducing energy usage, businesses will also be making savings and building resilience.”