How London’s Brightest Businesses are Making a Big Sustainable Impact

How London’s Brightest Businesses are Making a Big Sustainable Impact

Workspace has been a champion of small and medium businesses since the 1980’s, continually providing homes to some of the capital’s most exciting and fast-growing SMEs.

Space to Grow

Earlier this year, Workspace established the London’s Brightest Businesses panel series to highlight leading talent within our SME community. On Thursday 21st August, we hosted the second session in the series at the Old Dairy in Shoreditch, to discuss how London SME’s are making a big sustainable impact. For this event, we brought together business leaders to discuss CSR, green business, everyday sustainability, and how being environmentally friendly has helped their businesses grow. 

We welcomed TV presenter and journalist Ben Fogle as the host for the morning, and Sonal Jain, Workspace’s Head of Sustainability, was joined on the panel by three representatives from SMEs – Lucy Dwyther from Anthesis Sustainability Consultancy, who have previously contributed to Workspace’s ESG policy, Sam Chote, General Manager of Decent Packaging, and Buzzbike founder Tom Hares. Decent and Buzzbike are both Workspace customers and fast-growing innovators in the environmental industry. For the panel discussion, they delved into how small businesses are helping make our everyday lives more sustainable.

The conversation included 5 key takeaways on what businesses – and individuals – can do to make a difference, including:

  • Focus on the small things you can do within your business to create change, rather than trying to fix everything at once
  • Aim for a 10% change – if everyone can do this, rather than focusing on being environmentally perfect, then we’ll all be better off
  • Pick one area of your business to begin to change in terms of sustainability, and focus on that to begin with
  • Keep learning and get educated on what other SME’s are doing – pooling ideas and talent is the best way to keep up momentum
  • Simply beginning the process of becoming Bcorp will help you understand the key gaps in your business regarding sustainability

Panelists at London's Brightest Businesses Event

Both Workspace customers, Decent Packaging, a compostable packaging supplier, and Buzzbike, a bicycle share scheme, highlighted how the nimbleness of smaller businesses helps them enact change and come up with innovative products. Pointing to the rapidly changing landscape of sustainable production, Sam Chote noted Decent’s advantage in being a small eco business, affirming that:

"[Decent] will be doing something different in five years' time. We'll adapt - it's better for radical change"

Tom Hares of Buzzbike predicted that the future will see different ways to move around cities, and that there will be no more cars in city centres in the near future. 

Space to Come Together

Meanwhile, Sonal and sustainability consultant Anthesis offered a broader perspective on the SME community, pointing to initiatives that are driving a more efficient and circular economy, such as Workspace customer Hurr challenging the ideal of newness in fashion, and instead introducing desirability to rental clothing. Sonal also highlighted the critical nature of corporate sustainability and having sustainability policies in place, noting how it is now expected of companies to be environmentally responsible: 

"Sustainability is important to 85% of Workspace customers - 25% have declined contracts with service providers based on sustainability credentials"

Audience at London's Brightest Businesses Event

Workspace event manager Stacy Lyden-Sauppe also ensured that the event had a fully sustainable set up, including live foliage from Workspace customer, Muddy Trowel, a locally sourced, seasonal menu from Cura Catering, and a fully sustainable set and backdrop which will be recycled into second-life products post-event.

Watch the full event here.

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