The small Cornish businesses already doing their bit for the Climate Emergency
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Growth Hub is backing a national drive to encourage start-ups and small firms to go greener
Wild Harbour Fish Company in Hayle is a carbon neutral family business going out of its way to be kind to the environment (Image: Wild Harbour Fish Company)
Small businesses can make a big difference when it comes to climate change – that’s the message behind a campaign to help Cornwall reduce its carbon emissions.
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Growth Hub is backing a national drive to encourage start-ups and small firms to go greener.
It comes after a landmark UN report warned that climate change is widespread, rapid and intensifying. Human activity is already affecting many weather and climate extremes which is unprecedented and affecting every region of the planet.
The sobering assessment was delivered by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group of scientists whose findings are endorsed by the world’s governments.
The UK government has asked all businesses to think about how they can reduce emissions, with a view to being net zero by 2050. But Cornwall is on a mission to do even better than that. The plan here is to be net zero carbon by 2030 – 20 years ahead of the rest of the UK.
Cornwall Council declared a climate emergency in 2019, recognising the urgent need to tackle the global crisis by starting at home.
Whether they are reusing or recycling marine plastic or other materials, dozens of Cornish firms are already doing more than their bot for the environment and help the climate emergency.
Growth Hub Operations Director Stu Anderson said the organisation had seen increasing demand from a range of firms for information about the low carbon agenda, particularly in the run up to the UN Climate Summit COP26 in Glasgow in November.
“Businesses want to know what practical steps they can take to help,” said Stu. “It’s so encouraging to see. Many local companies are really embracing change when it comes to more sustainable practices.
“They realise it’s becoming increasingly important, not just for the environment but also for their customers. More and more people want to see evidence of sustainability.”
The Growth Hub works with local businesses, including self-employed people and not-for-profit organisations to offer guidance and support to help them work smarter, develop and grow.
Part of that now involves helping them reduce emissions. Steps could include installing energy saving light bulbs, switching to electric vehicles and other cleaner forms of transport to reduce their carbon footprint, looking at environment-friendly packaging options or introducing cycle-to-work schemes for employees.
Wild Harbour Fish Company in Hayle, Cornwall, is one such business which is already carbon-neutral and supplies fresh fish to restaurants across the UK.
A family-owned sustainable business, Wild Harbour Fish Company was established in 2012, and has been striving to make a good influence on the environment by obtaining in-season fresh fish, using sustainable catch methods and supporting the local day boat community ever since.
Abi Taylor, the company’s founder, and her crew have worked hard to make the local business as environmentally friendly as possible. The firm uses Cornish seaweed to wrap shellfish for transportation, as well as environmentally friendly packaging. And it turns waste into lobster pot bait or fertiliser for growing vegetables in the local fields.
“It’s a great way of doing it,” said Abi, who spent hours researching the subject during lockdown. “It means we can work with Carbon Neutral Britain on lots of different offsetting projects.
“As business owners, we’ve got to be mindful of what we are doing, especially in light of the recent climate report. We can’t just bury our heads in the sand and hope everyone else will sort the problem out.”
Port Denim in Falmouth produces ethically conscious, organic home furnishings, fashion and clothing accessories.
Director Moira Mottram was inspired to make her newly established denim business environmentally friendly in 2018, after watching a documentary which highlighted the catastrophic effects that the production of denim was having worldwide.
She said: “I wanted to create products that were eco-friendly. I also don’t use polyester cotton and I am trying to look at alternatives to using polyester inserts for the cushions.”
Moira said she’s researching the idea of a polyester filling made from plastic bottles as a greener alternative.
She added: “It’s really exciting to think that although we are in the early stages of sourcing eco-friendly materials, in years to come, these types of products will be made more available.”
Circular&Co Ltd in Perranporth makes reusable coffee cups from used single-use coffee cups and plastic lids sourced from firms like Starbucks.
Established in 2003 by founder and former-Dyson design specialist Dan Dicker, Circular&Co was one of a handful of Cornish businesses chosen to showcase the Duchy’s skills by producing G7 branded coffee cups as part of the media packs given to journalists fro around the world when they came to Cornwall the three-day event in June.
Sales have grown 64%, year-on-year, with more than £2.8 million of products sold online and across major multiples and independent coffee shops throughout the UK in 2019, and across 36 territories worldwide.
Dan is an advocate of the circular economy. He said: “There is no silver bullet solution to the current environmental crisis – but we’re taking positive action and we know it’s a journey. For organisations, businesses and individuals, it’s a global movement to breakdown our throwaway culture; nothing has a single purpose and everything has a value.”