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Watford businesses lead the way on sustainability thanks to Watford Sustainable Business Programme

Watford businesses are transforming their approach to sustainability, guided by the Watford Sustainable Business Programme, sponsored by Watford Borough Council and run by Sustainable X.

The Watford Sustainable Business Programme is a ground-breaking programme that provides free, practical support to help Watford businesses take action in the fight against climate change and become more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. Watford-based businesses which have been impacted by COVID-19 can take part in this programme free of charge. With a mix of workshops and one-to-one support, they receive practical advice and information to help lower their carbon use and build sustainable practices into their business.

Participants are guided through a structured programme that starts by measuring their carbon footprint and current practices, then uses business-focused tools and resources to identify actions and create achievable, long-term plans. Programme leaders Sustainable X also work with each business on a one-to-one basis and identify help additional schemes or grants – up to the value of £5,000 – for projects that support ongoing improvements to the sustainable practices of the business.

Photocaption: Jason Steel and Alan Segall from Runners World Watford receive their Watford Sustainable Business Programme Certificate from Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor

Runners World Watford were one of the first applicants to the Watford Sustainable Business Programme, and recently received their completion certificate from Elected Mayor Peter Taylor. Owner Jason Steel acknowledged that he’d originally taken part in the programme to find a sustainable way of heating the shop, but soon found that there were many additional – and simple – ways that the business could become more sustainable.

“Taking part really opened our eyes to the little differences that are right in front of us, where making a tiny bit of effort can help a lot,” Jason explained, “It’s doable and we’re finding different ways of being sustainable in areas we didn’t think of.”

As a direct result of taking part in this programme, Runners World has made small but important differences in how they operate. Jason continues, “We’ve looked at deliveries and how we use our transport, we’ve cut back on printing and changed the lighting in store. We’ve also thought about how we deal with waste. Now, clothing that can no longer be sold for various reasons is given to the homeless instead of being thrown away.”

Elected Mayor Peter Taylor presented the certificate to Runners World and was delighted to hear the impact the programme has had on this local business. “It’s great to hear the changes Runners World has made as a result of the Watford Sustainable Business Programme, and to recognise that these simple changes will make a big difference. For a business owner like Jason to recommend the Programme to other businesses in Watford really shows what an amazing resource this initiative is for our local businesses.”

Rondi Allan, Director at Sustainable X, commented, “Watford businesses are now realising that embracing sustainability is good business: customers want to know that the companies they are buying from are doing the right thing. Runners World is a great example of a business doing just that – and helping people in need in their community at the same time.”

Nick Reilly, also Director at Sustainable X, continued, “What businesses don’t always realise is that they can save money and improve productivity by embracing sustainable business practices. Like Runners World, most businesses can make a difference by reducing energy and waste costs and making everyday business requirements like travel as efficient as possible. Improving sustainability is definitely best practice for today’s businesses.”

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