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SMEs urged to act on the sustainability agenda

Alec Walton, chief executive of In the Circle

A new enterprise is aiming to put sustainability on the agenda for all businesses by hosting a series of regional conferences designed to explain to companies of all sizes how they can move towards becoming part of the circular economy and the business benefits this will deliver.

In the Circle will show case best practice plans and initiatives to help all businesses build and develop their own sustainability policies and programmes.

The inaugural conference will bring together more than 30 speakers and 50 exhibitors, including experts who have spear headed industry-leading initiatives for blue chip organisations such as Marks & Spencer and Yorkshire Water.

Taking place in Leeds, a city which has already declared a climate emergency, the event is expected to attract hundreds of business leaders, directors, managers and sustainability experts. The Leeds conference will take place on 8th September 2020 at New Dock Hall.

It is the first of three events to be held over a six-month period, with future conferences planned for Manchester and Birmingham.

Alec Walton, chief executive of In the Circle, said: “Sustainability has become a key part of a business’s strategy with growing evidence not only that customers want to buy from ethical, sustainable companies and employees want to work for these type of organisations, but also that these businesses are keen to embark on a programme of positive change. However, while large corporates have entire departments dedicated to devising and implementing sustainability programmes, many others simply don’t know what action to take.

“Our events will give business leaders a clear plan of action with advice from leading experts in the field and a chance to meet suppliers of the latest products, providing them with the tools they need to develop and implement an effective sustainability programme.”

Paula Widdowson, who became York Council’s first cabinet member for climate change last year, is part of the team behind the conferences.

She said: “In recent weeks, Yorkshire has been reminded of the impact that climate change has on businesses and residents.

“Collectively, we all need to take responsibility. There is now an expectation from investors, stake holders and consumers that businesses are show they are responsible and taking the lead on sustainability.

“Whether a business is already well down the sustainability road, or wanting to get onto it, In the Circle events will help them achieve their goals. We hope all businesses will join us ‘in the circle’.”