As a consumer, it can be difficult to find a brand that is truly committed to sustainability. When speaking of our day-to-day activities, like going to the barber, getting coffee, or buying a gift, it would be incredibly helpful to know that a retailer or small service provider is doing their part for the environment. After all, we all want to support businesses that have a good and healthy future in mind.
On the other hand, it is not always simple for smaller businesses to make investments into energy efficiency, for example. A lot of the times, those businesses operate in rented buildings and don’t have the freedom to make big modifications such as reapplying insulation.
Fortunately, Klimaatgerust can guide entrepreneurs in order to easily become more energy efficient, while also helping them to showcase energy efficiency steps taken even before receiving any advice. To explain how simple it really is to step into the process and achieve up to a 50% reduction in carbon emissions, Duurzame Week has spoken to Klimaatgerust’s Mart van Assem.
Climate friendly with a calm heart
Mart is passionate about helping entrepreneurs all over the Netherlands become energy efficient. He goes straight to the point – Klimaatgerust’s goal is to support the process towards energy efficiency in a practical manner and without interfering with the entrepreneur’s activities. “There is no need for an entrepreneur to worry about involving their supply chain or landlord if they don’t want to or aren’t able to. Our Climate Plan offers advice that includes ‘do-it-yourself’ measures, such as switching to an energy provider that offers green energy, installing LED lights, or investing in a new refrigerator”.
He explains that starting the process with simple measures actually makes a big difference in emissions reduction. “Our goal is to present practical measures and start the process of energy efficiency for as many entrepreneurs as possible, because the biggest emissions reduction lies there, in the beginning of the process”.
An entrepreneur does not necessarily have to make climate change their priority in order to start reducing their environmental footprint. “We are very happy when a business owner realises that they will save money by saving energy. And we have already seen so many satisfied clients with their reduced consumption. For us, that is where the biggest opportunity lies, going from 0 reduction to 50% reduction in emissions”. When we consider that the Corona times bring challenges to businesses, financial savings coming from energy reduction could actually save the day.
Those happy clients he refers to are about 70 businesses in retail, hospitality and service that have been helped through the project Detailhandel en Horeca Klimaat Neutraal, an ongoing initiative in partnership with the Municipality of Utrecht.
Entrepreneurs who have taken steps to increase their energy efficiency, either at their own initiative or with the help of a Climate Plan, are eligible for receiving a Climate Certificate. The first certification level is Bronze, followed by Silver and Gold, with the last one meaning carbon neutrality.
Mart emphasises that improving a business’ energy efficiency is a process, and each entrepreneur may choose a suitable timeline based on the advice they receive in the Climate Plan. It is also possible to maintain the current level of energy efficiency for a few years, making the most of energy saving opportunities when they arise. A good example is to replace old equipment when they break down, choosing a more efficient new version. “Becoming climate neutral is the ultimate goal in energy efficiency, but at that level you actually go from 92% efficiency to 100%, which is great, but only represents an 8% reduction in emissions. That is also not realistic for many businesses at this moment. So we encourage them to keep doing what they are doing now and leave neutrality for the future”.
As part of the Duurzame Maand November, Mart will give a free workshop to entrepreneurs interested in achieving energy efficiency and financial savings, this Tuesday 17 November. Reserve now your sport and start saving!