Marketing NG opinion piece – How businesses can engage with sustainability.

Nottingham has a proud history in relation to energy and sustainability, with the largest district heating network of any City in the UK, the most solar PV systems per rooftop of anywhere in the UK and a quarter of the energy demands of the City now coming from renewable energy generation within the City boundary.

Building on these solid foundations, and a 41% reduction in carbon emissions against a 2005 baseline, Nottingham has now set an ambition to become carbon neutral by 2028!

The science is clear; we need to act urgently to reduce our carbon emissions and prepare for a changing climate. Climate Change is a long-lasting and universal problem that will affect everyone, particularly our most vulnerable citizens. In order to safeguard our City for future generations the City Council has committed to carbon neutrality and declared a climate emergency. Protecting the security and welfare of our citizens from the impacts of a changing climate is at the forefront of our commitment and we will continue to work to create a prosperous, fair and resilient city for this and future generations.

We’ve delivered on some fantastic initiatives to date;

  • We’ve created a dual use for some of our car parks by installing solar canopies to capture the sun’s energy and utilise it to power our leisure centres.
  • Car ownership in Nottingham is the lowest of anywhere outside of London and we’ve invested in the tram, electric buses, bio-buses and our cycling infrastructure to ensure a connected City with limited emissions.
  • Battery storage is being piloted at various locations; allowing energy to be stored and used at peak demand times.
  • Domestic retrofit of Nottingham City Homes properties is happening at pace, with European funds supporting a net-zero model called Energiesprong. This work is tackling fuel poverty and improving our hardest to treat homes.

Our action plan for achieving carbon neutrality is currently out for consultation:

We’re asking for as many views as possible from across the City, the target is Citywide and therefore it is critical that all partners and stakeholders take ownership of this ambitious goal!

The Challenge for Business

Our commercial and business sector is crucial if we are going to achieve carbon neutrality. Between 2005 and 2016, industry and commercial energy demand decreased by 35.5% and we are keen to further accelerate this trend.

Though the sector energy demand decreased, gas use from the sector still accounts for a quarter of the total energy consumption in Nottingham.  Space and process heating also contributed approximately 30% of the City’s NOx concentrations.  In the coming decade, Nottingham will have to reduce gas consumption, and replace its usage with lower carbon alternatives, as well as improve the efficiency of products, buildings and vehicles to reduce the demand for energy.


The East Midlands Chamber Sustainability Forum is a great resource for businesses, sharing best practice of green business models that both save money and protect the environment. They also showcase firms that have embedded sustainability into their business: 

Additionally our own Green Theme Partnership, a One Nottingham collaboration, invites businesses to attend and participate:

What Action Can Businesses Take? 

There are many options!


If you have your own fleet install a GPS tracking system to look at how to make your travel more efficient, it may also support decisions on future purchase/leasing requirements.

Replacing vehicles with electric alternatives will also have a major impact and we are working to support businesses with this transition:

Increase the efficiency of your office lighting

Changing lighting across an operational or office building to more energy efficient options such as LED can make a big difference and is a quick win with long lasting effects. Where possible  ensure that natural light is used when adequate, many offices are artificially lit unnecessarily.

We have an innovative grant programme – N2EG – which can offer energy assessments and grants to support lighting plus many other energy efficient technologies to businesses, for more information please e mail:

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Sustainable procurement can act as a catalyst to engage employees with thinking of ways they can reduce consumption of items such as water, paper, food and drink, laptops, phones and packaging. Manufacture and transport of all these items has an associated carbon footprint and changing procurement habits to consider items made from recycled materials and refurbished equipment can have a big impact.

Join our movement to make Nottingham the first carbon neutral City in the UK and sign up here to receive regular updates:

Wayne Bexton

Head of Energy Services