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On Wednesday 14th September, representatives from K2 UK attended the official launch of the Guildford Sustainable Business Network (SBN), a collaborative venture between Zero Carbon Guildford and the University of Surrey’s Research & Innovation department.

The SBN has been created to help local businesses find solutions that develop long-term resilience to a changing planet, and to provide practical guidance for businesses across all sectors to decarbonize their operations and improve sustainability in fields ranging from waste to procurement, to energy generation and beyond.

The network hopes to link like-minded, environmentally committed businesses and offer a platform through which to share ideas and build collaborative working relationships.

The four main goals of the network, defined during the pre-launch phase are as follows:

  1. To platform work already being done within the local community and share best practice, inspiring others to follow suit whilst creating a collaborative network of motivated businesses
  2. To provide practical pathways for businesses to reduce their emissions and increase their sustainability through interactions with University researchers, sectors experts, grant makers and each other
  3. To make Guildford (and Surrey) and appealing place to live and do business, particularly for sustainable and innovative enterprises and start-ups to flourish
  4. To provide a convening platform for University of Surrey staff to conduct knowledge exchange with businesses with UoS initiatives, research labs, and the new Sustainability Hive

The SBN team set the pre-launch phase in motion in Q2 of this year, ahead of rolling out the full programme activity. K2 joined the network back in May, assisting with piloting their baseline survey for businesses.

Attendees at the launch event heard from Dr Stelvia Matos, Head of the Centre for Social Innovation Management at University of Surrey, Hannah Keartland, Outsourced Impact Officer and SBN representative, and Fiona Ball, Group Head of Climate Action Leadership team at Sky. A wide variety of topics were covered during the session, plus details of upcoming learning opportunities and plans for the next meeting were revealed.

The launch was very well attended and saw organisations of different sizes, from across a range of sectors, come together at ZERO (Guildford’s community climate hub) through a shared passion for improving sustainable business operations in Surrey.

Ben McCallan, Chair of Zero Carbon Guildford and SBN founder, says:

“It was fantastic that we were at full capacity for the launch, I think it says a lot, not only about the commitment we’re making as a community to tackle a global crisis, but also about the level of support from SMEs in building resilience to a really difficult and unpredictable future.

Sustainability practices are an obvious way to do this; conserving energy, water, and localising supply chains where possible to build a carbon management plan which saves money.

It’s obvious the appetite is there for this work, it’s the overwhelm and apparent complexity of tackling these issues that turn businesses off. Hopefully we can cut through all that noise and make it as easy as possible for them.

K2’s Global Head of Compliance and ESG, Linda Rafferty, comments:

“K2 understands the vital role of partnership and collaboration in our sustainability journey, and the need to support sustainability initiatives in the local areas within which we operate. By coming on board early, as one of the network’s first members, we have already had the chance to attend several events and hear from industry experts.

25 – 30% of Guildford’s emissions are from local businesses, so it is important that businesses operating within the local community engage with powerful projects like this, that aim to drive change, and improve the local environment.

We look forward to future knowledge sharing opportunities and being a part of the SBN’s growth and development over the coming months.”

The SBN also encourages and promotes effective multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge and expertise to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Find out more about K2’s ESG and sustainability goals.

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