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Energy expert Peter Gudde explains how some shops are helping customers to reduce their carbon footprint

I mentioned a couple of months ago that some local businesses are showing real environmental leadership.

Their commitment to change is delivering better business performance, reputational benefits and more sales. This, in turn, helps to support the consumer who is looking for a supplier with products that stand for something and are value for money.

How the cost-of-living squeeze will play into this is anyone’s guess as prices for most commodities and services are going up. But the received wisdom that higher environmental standards command a premium price no longer always applies.

Peter Gudde
Peter Gudde

Whether it’s shopping for the best deals on energy or just thinking about the effect that your shopping has on the world around us, the evidence suggests that shoppers are still trying to consider wider issues when buying goods and services. Surveys of consumer behaviour published by independent market researchers, YouGov, demonstrate that despite the Covid pandemic and pressure on household budgets more than half of British shoppers are, at least to some level, buying for higher environmental, welfare or ethical standards.

If you want to shop ethically as much as you can then it would be handy to have some way of spotting retailers who you have as good an eye on sustainability as you. A few months back Suffolk celebrated its ‘Creating the Greenest County’ Awards, pointing the spotlight at those courageous local firms who know that looking after their customers includes looking after the environment as well.

Many of these have also achieved the much-coveted Carbon Charter accreditation. To their customers this provides reassurance that the business has been through a comprehensive review checking confirming that they really care.

One of the leading supporters of the Carbon Charter is the East of England Co-op. They have partnered up with the Carbon Charter with the aim to get as many of their suppliers accredited as they can. Also, many of Co-op’s own stores in the region have themselves gained the award.

Some, such as the stores in Woodbridge and East Bergholt, have even gained the top ‘Gold’ rating.

By helping small local businesses who supply the items stocked on the shelves to look at their carbon footprint the Co-op is also helping to lower the cost of your shopping.

Businesses across the region from sweet manufacturers, plant nurseries and beer breweries to printers, ice cream makers and manufacturers have all joined the Co-op in looking hard at how they can tread as lightly as possible by reducing their carbon footprint.

So, whenever you are considering buying something, it might be worth keeping a lookout for the Carbon Charter symbol or asking the business whether they are accredited. It is surprising how many businesses are getting onboard with the green revolution making it easier for you to make the best choices.