Feb 21, 2021
In Final submissions
Despite SMEs being a powerful collective force, they remain limited in terms of options to become more sustainable. By integrating sustainability into their business strategies, SMEs can benefit from lower costs, reduced risks and a range of new opportunities. However, business owners face challenges ranging from lack of time to educate themselves on sustainable practices, to difficulty gaining financial support. With so many obstacles to overcome, it comes as no surprise that businesses choose unsustainable options in order to keep their companies afloat. Our solution is simple; a website to make the switch to sustainability easier for SMEs. With the long-term goal to power our world with clean energy, businesses can take steps to adopt sustainable measures with the tools they need to educate themselves, receive support and inspire a greener future. One of the ways our website will promote awareness amongst businesses is via an emissions calculator. The calculator will factor in their company size to estimate their CO2 emissions. By showing them how much CO2 they produce, we hope to raise awareness amongst business owners, helping them to visualise the impact they have on the environment. Furthermore, there is also information on how using greener energy sources can help to decrease their environmental impact. Through this, we are essentially simplifying the overwhelming amount of information found on the internet, instead providing a no-fuss approach to highlight the benefits of switching to cleaner energy. Social sustainability is another key area that SMEs can consider when considering their impact on the world. ‘Diversity helps foster innovation’ – our page on social sustainability aims to help business owners overcome biases, both conscious and subconscious, so they can benefit from a broader range of perspectives within the workplace. By offering advice on ways to tackle different forms of discrimination, we hope that businesses can create more inclusive and democratic environments where all employees feel included and valued. Another major obstacle faced by SMEs in their switch to sustainability is a lack of financial support. With many businesses unable to spare the upfront cost of implementing sustainable practices, our financial support will be a way for businesses to easily navigate the different grants and funds available to them. We aim to fund the website primarily through advertisements and sponsorships with businesses who are at the forefront of sustainability, creating a space that inspires as well as informs. By eliminating the need for any memberships and making the website free, we’re making it accessible for any business interested in sustainability. Furthermore, advertising will provide a platform for businesses with similar values to network, promoting collaboration and innovation. Despite our website’s humble beginnings as a site based on business models and statistics from the UK, we have built a platform that has the potential to run on a global scale. With the world waiting for a green revolution, we have created a tool to help businesses step up and take responsibility, showing the world that we all have the power to make a difference. Link to the interactive website - EWB Challenge (marekistok.github.io)
Feb 12, 2021
In Concept notes
Problem: Energy supply accounts for 60% of global greenhouse emissions, of which only 17% comes from renewable sources. With global power consumption expected to double by 2050, sourcing energy responsibly will play a vital role in building a sustainable future. SMEs (Small and Medium sized Enterprises) account for over 95% of all businesses, resulting in a prominent collective impact on the environment. However, they remain limited in their options to decarbonise and implement sustainable practices due to several issues, particularly a lack of time to research and develop an understanding of these socially/environmentally sustainable practices. Furthermore, small businesses often cannot spare the upfront investment costs to implement these strategies, a problem exacerbated by a lack of financial support from banks and stakeholders. Proposal: We aim to promote the switch to cleaner energy by supporting SMEs to implement sustainable practices. Our idea is to design an interactive website to allow business owners to easily learn more about their impact on the environment and suggest ways for them to implement sustainable practices. Key features of the website include: · A calculator to help calculate their emissions – it would factor in different aspects of the business and give them a rating to compare against other SMEs, as well as projected statistics to show how they could reduce their emissions by making certain changes · Information on the financial support such as grants and incentives available to businesses to reduce their carbon footprint · Advice on improving social sustainability by using geographical information to show how to help and empower local communities.