Sustainability in Enterprise - Night Time Economy Solutions Ltd
Through NTU's Sustainability in Enterprise project, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Night Time Economy Solutions has received funding through our graduate talent grant, and support from early career development programme - the Sustainability Community Lab (SCL).
Jo explained how NTES has benefited from the support on offer:
"We saw the grant and SCL as an incredible opportunity to employ and train a graduate as our sustainability lead, and put a sustainability strategy in place. The grant has enabled us to create a new graduate job, while the SCL gives us a structured way to give Georgie the knowledge and tools she needs in her new role.
"We've never had in-house sustainability lead before, so this is a big step for us.
"We're hoping to achieve B Corp status by the end of 2023, and Georgie will take the lead on working towards that. B Corp looks at everything we do as a business holistically, from both an environmental and social perspective.
"It's always been important to us that we take care of people and give back to local communities; for example, we donate 10% of our profits to local charities in the areas we work in. B Corp will help us put environmental and social responsibility at the heart of the company and set ourselves apart from other organisations."
What we’re doing now
"As an online business, we've always worked from home in a paperless, digital environment, which has helped to reduce our carbon footprint. However, we also need to travel around the UK and further afield to support our partners.
"To minimise our impact, we use public transport whenever we can, keep a careful log of all of our travel, and work with a carbon offsetting specialist to offset our carbon by planting trees and donating to sustainability charities.
"With Georgie onboard taking the lead on sustainability, we can now go beyond this by understanding and monitoring our total carbon footprint, and the practical steps we can take to reduce it. As part of this, Georgie is developing a sustainability strategy for NTES, which is something we've never had before.
"The SCL is giving me the knowhow I need to develop a sustainability strategy for NTES, and track our total carbon footprint as a business with very little direct output to audit, apart from travel.
"I'll also be building sustainability into the services we offer. For instance, many of the grants we help secure for arts and cultural events and activities have an environmental strand to them. As a sustainability advocate, I'll be able to advise artists and organisations on their carbon impact and how to reduce it."
"The programme is showing me how small changes have a trickle effect and combine to make a big difference, and I'm taking a lot away from it personally, as well as professionally."
We saw the grant and SCL as an incredible opportunity to employ and train a graduate as our sustainability lead, and put a sustainability strategy in place. The grant has enabled us to create a new graduate job, while the SCL gives us a structured way to give Georgie [the graduate] the knowledge and tools she needs in her new role.
NTES have employed a graduate who is taking part in NTU's early career development programme for sustainability advocates, and the business is hoping to achieve B Corp accreditation in 2023.
Jo continued: "As a niche business, we’ve struggled to find relevant best practice sustainability case studies to learn from. Our sustainability strategy will give us our very own best practice case study and hopefully help to show other businesses how it’s done, including how we’re achieving B Corp status and trading both ethically and profitably.
"It will also give us an additional strand to our business focused on sustainability. As part of this, we’re recruiting a second graduate with support from NTU’s Sustainability in Enterprise programme, who will work with our partners on sustainability initiatives. Becoming a B Corp business will help us attract new customers and investors in a world that’s increasingly focusing on environmental and social responsibility, enabling us to grow and future proof the company, while giving back to people and the planet."
NTES has been working with NTU Sustainability and Employer Engagement Coordinator, Vicky Harvey. Vicky explained:
"Sustainability is vital to help develop businesses’ brand awareness, improve staff attrition, maintain clients and win new business in the future. SMEs are facing multiple challenges at the moment, from rising energy prices to skills shortages. NTES’s experience shows how small businesses can benefit from graduate talent, as a way of prioritising sustainability and growing homegrown specialists with a unique knowledge of their company."
Jo agrees: "It’s easier for us to recruit and invest in graduates and help them to learn and grow, rather than to try and find people from the industry. Vicky has looked through our job descriptions for graduates and recommended how we can strengthen them to attract the very best talent. Her support has been amazing.
"I’m really excited to see how Georgie helps us develop our future as a sustainable business. It’s a real gift to have the funding to employ a sustainability lead, and the training to help Georgie grow into her role.
"I would definitely recommend the Sustainability in Enterprise programme to other SMEs. The time we invested in completing the paperwork is well worth the return in terms of the financial and practical support we’ve had to develop our business.
"Businesses have such an important role to play in sustainability and we need to show leadership. One of the ways we can do that is by sharing our sustainability stories to inspire others, including our learning and development. We only get one planet, and we all need to play our part."
Find out more about Night Time Economy Solutions and their work supporting local organisations on their website.