written by
Denise Jacobs

Involve companies in your climate plan

Consultancy 3 min read , July 3, 2019

As municipality you'd like to involve everyone in your climate plans, because everyone benefits from it. However, companies tend to stay behind or do it on their own. We listed a few tips to better reach out to companies. ✔️

This article is based on our Dutch webinar, where Steven (Futureproofed), Astrid De Man (VOKA) and Jan Jaeken (Samen Klimaatactief) shared their experiences.

Use the same language 🙊

Companies are continuously busy with surviving. Along with making profit and return on investments.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that companies often view sustainability as a (mandatory) responsibility and carry it out on top of their core activities.
As a result, climate ambitions often perish when savings have to be made.

The financial picture dominates the mindset of the companies and without profit nobody starts to do business. So make sure to use the same language as the entrepreneurs.

Start from the challenges the companies face. Discover them and possible solutions below. 👇

Reduce costs 💰

A company doesn't like to spend more money than needed. In terms of personnel, materials, but also energy.
👉 As municipality you can help them by organizing group purchases. By doing this, (smaller) companies are also able to purchase the most economical devices and still save costs.

👉 Start up initiatives such as the Belgian milieu-infopunt voor KMO’s (miK) or Samen Klimaatactief (both websites are in Dutch). The municipality Grimbergen organized successful moments of participation with miK to encourage companies to take sustainable measures.

👉 As municipality you also play a role in the support of companies. By creating awareness, you can offer solutions that they may not have been able find themselves.

Reduce risks 🔥

No company likes to be vulnerable. Risk reduction is important to all businesses.

In Flanders there aren't a lot of regional projects where companies work together with the municipality to find solutions, like the Metropoolregio Rotterdam Den Haag (partial English website). This is a shame. It's very interesting to encourage systematic sustainable thinking. 👉 Bring companies together to stimulate them to cooperate.

Encourage collaboration 🙌

Companies continuously try to make more profit and discover new markets.
Existing products and services are constantly improved and new products are being designed and made. Companies usually already innovate a lot by themselves, but they don't really involve the surrounding environment a lot.

👉 Start up regional cooperations for companies. Maybe let citizens participate as well. This way companies contribute to sustainable measures and have fiscal benefits from it.
Additionally, the costs are shared, which in turn reduces the risks.

Create interaction between your city and companies 🔗

Companies are starting to see the financial benefit of sustainable entrepreneurship. More and more companies work with sustainability, but don't communicate (enough) about it to the outside world.

Encouraging companies to do sustainable business and communicating about it is interesting for the municipality and the company. The municipality gets access to data that it can use for the climate action plans and the company's reputation improves.

There's a clear win-win for both parties. Here's how to do it:

👉 Inform the companies about the goal of the climate actions of the municipality.

👉 Help them get the information they need to be more sustainable.

👉 Make sure the companies communicate with each other. By sharing expertise and best practices, they encourage each other to take action.

Informing each other about actions works inspiring and encourages everyone to take action.
👉Pick up on this by explaining what the municipality has to offer.

Support the companies 👊

Make sure to support the companies that are on board with your climate ambitions. This doesn't necessarily have to be financially:

👉 Start a charter so companies earn recognition as a participating company. This enhances brand value and offers extra value to have climate ambitions as a company.

👉 Acknowledge the companies for what they do and establish some sort of award ceremony where the municipality rewards the best projects.

👉 Join initiatives like Samen Klimaatactief and encourage companies to register as well. They offer a label to active users of the marketplace, which creates brand value.

💡 Samen Klimaatactief is a public website with concrete proposals for energy efficiency and renewable energy. You can find practical tips and support to save energy and generate it in a sustainable way. There is a closed virtual marketplace on the website for applicants and providers of renewable energy and energy efficient services and products.

This article is inspired by our Dutch webinar "Bedrijven, kantoren en winkels mee aan boord". You can watch our English webinars here.

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