How businesses could benefit from Circular Economy during lockdown

04 November 2020
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David Dickson, Chair of the LEP Infrastructure Board, talks about how businesses can leverage circular economy as a solution to the current crisis.

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We know that so many businesses are struggling to survive in our region and beyond. Hospitality, retail and tourism businesses have been under extreme pressure for months and a second lockdown will make things even harder for them. In these challenging circumstances, businesses will be looking for new solutions to help them brave the next few months.

November is Circular Yorkshire month and at the York & North Yorkshire LEP, we understand how adopting circular practices can help businesses adapt and become resilient.

What is it ? Circular Economy is all about using only what we need, eliminating waste and making the most of all our resources, including people, products, services, systems and our planet.

Yesterday, to kick off Circular Yorkshire month, we heard 3 businesses- Cooper King Distillery, Seagrown and Toast Ale- talk about how they have used sustainability and a circular approach to grow their businesses, even during the first COVID-19 lockdown.

We encourage local businesses to act differently and look at circular economy as a solution to the current situation. We have provided here a Top 10 list of actions you could take now and in the medium term to support your business through lockdown:

1.      If your business is not allowed to stay open, can you adapt to operate your business online? York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub and ShopAppy are making it easy for businesses to start selling online.

2.      If you are a business that is being forced to close and you are worried you may have food that will go to waste, York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub and Too Good To Go can help connect your surplus food with paying consumers.

3.      If you are a business that is having to close its premises for a while, you can minimise your out-goings to energy suppliers by ensuring that you switch off all electrical items from standby. You may also be able to find more efficient energy providers to save you money in the long-run.

4.      Collaboration is key to circular economy. Can you connect with like-minded businesses to see how you might support each other? Your waste might be valuable to another business.  You both might be able to share the cost of adopting a home delivery service. Check out facebook to identify local business networks.

5.      If your business is putting staff on furlough, there are opportunities for upskilling or volunteering for a local charity that you can suggest to staff that may benefit them.  Developing skills in your workforce is a good way to ensure your business can grow.

6.       Go local- shopping local and buying local is a good way to do business in times of upheaval and its supports our local people. Find out how the Growth Hub’s Shop Appy  or NYCC’s Buy Local initiative could help you.

7.      Access expert help- the circular economy is an ideal model for resilient growth and  focuses on reducing risk whilst identifying opportunities. You can access free mentoring to help you become more resilient through the Growth Hub’s Adversity to Recovery scheme. You may also want to sign up to this programme that is offering circular support to SMEs in York & North Yorkshire.

8.      Digitalisation is making it easier to adopt the circular principles of managing services, resources and people. Skills Support for the Workplace and Digital Advantage offers a range of training options to help businesses meet long-term training needs.

9.      Make the most of all your resources- this is a key circular economy principle. Contact the team at REBiz  who can offer free efficiency audits, consultancy advice, hands-on-support and capital grant funding of up to £40,000 to save money, material resources and carbon.

10.   Finally, why don’t you take a look at the series of  ‘Circular Economy: 6 Benefits for Business’ e-guides produced for by York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub in partnership with the CBI, FSB and West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce. These are full of practical advice and actions that will make a positive difference to your bottom line now and in the future, as well as help the planet.

 

For more inspiration and ideas about the Circular Economy and how it can help your business, visit https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/downloads/ and www.circularyorkshiremonth.com.

We hope that businesses make use of this support and we wish you well over the next few months.

Stay in touch with us so that we can share news of further support as it becomes available.

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