A View From The Bridge - Alison Henderson

Alison Henderson is CEO of Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce and manages the Circular Tayside programme. 

Sustainable business….our journey so far

Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce has been working with Zero Waste Scotland for many years now, particularly focussing on the Circular Economy and how that impacts business.
As part of our work, we developed the Circular Tayside Charter to help businesses work through their sustainability journey, become more circular and build their path to net zero & 2045.
The Scottish Government has made a commitment to net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045. But, did you know that the single greatest cause of the climate crisis is the carbon emissions created by everything we produce, consume and too often bin after just one use.

Donna Bell, the Chamber's Office Manager said:

"Getting involved with the Charter was an exercise we did to help us understand how accountable we were as a business in waste and being more astute in how circular we can be.

Looking at ways we can implement changes has ensured that we are aware of the waste we create and where it goes. The Charter is a great start for any business looking to improve their carbon footprint and to make the work environment at the forefront of what it does which helps the business and engages the team."
How is our business preparing for 2045?
·      We have recycling bins in the office (used by our team & visitors)
·      We made the switch to green energy two years ago when our contract was renewing
·      We run a fully electric vehicle as a pool car that the team use to make business visits
·      We make sustainable purchasing decisions where we can (we’ve been caught out on some naïve choices there though!)
·      We have a carbon offset programme which helps globally on projects such as tree planting
·      We have trained our team by giving some internal presentations and are putting some of the team through Climate Solutions training
We’ve also held a session with our suppliers to introduce them to the Charter and encourage them to think about participating in it.
By taking part in the Charter we realised that we had already done a lot to evidence our sustainability credentials and circularity. We looked at the two compulsory commitments and which of the four elective ones would fit us best.

The compulsory commitments must be met by all signatories, and the Chamber also looked at the Circular Business Strategy and Circular Office electives.
The charter journey for the Chamber of Commerce team has been fairly direct with measures already implemented on improving our business practice before the start of the charter process began.

Minor additional commitments and adjustments to waste management in the office, plus looking towards internal methods such as switching to LED lights will form part of the ongoing action plan.

"I'd encourage all local organisations to take a look at the Charter and use it to help document your journey to net zero and beyond. We discovered that by making some small changes and having a sustainable mindset in the team that we were able to not only make a huge difference to our Scope 1 & Scope 2 emissions, but by offseting our carbon, we've become a carbon positive business. I'm very proud that this has been our outcome. 

We've planted a tree for every organisation that we engage with, and will plant more for every new member that we welcome to the Chamber community. Take a look at our Ecologi forest here and the climate projects that our commitment has supported."