Small 99 – the best thing about COP26


Simon by a COP26 poster in Glasgow

or…Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can

Ok. Full disclosure, I didn’t actually go to COP26 in Glasgow. I did go to Glasgow two weeks later to see a very dear friend Michael – but he’s for another blog another day. Still, I managed to get a blurry selfie with the COP26 poster in the background.

By now of course, we know that the event fell short of what was expected, and that there were some extraordinary mistakes too; failure to give the floor to more youth and developing nation representation and missing the opportunity to have Nicola Sturgeon in pole position to name two. Some will say that the Glasgow Climate Pact should have gone further, and that in fact, despite our Presidency of the “Committee of Parties” we will be forever associated with this miss. I don’t know about all that. As a citizen, part time “Sustainability & innovation Manager” and small business owner I followed the event with real interest and I learned a huge amount. It is one stand-out experience I want to share now.

Small99 founded by Adam Bastock is a purpose driven business, the purpose being to get 1 million small business to Net Zero by 2025. It was this bold ambition that drew me to sign-up for the webinar event Adam was co-hosting with partner advocates for climate action.

To be clear, I am late to the climate action train and only just got on a few years back. You see, I was in corporate land where I was able to lean on representatives and teams to do the heavy lifting and thinking for me. Fast forward to now, and I am a committed citizen with Naked Sprout toilet paper, plastic free toothpaste tabs and Zen B pasta in my kitchen cupboards. But it is not my shopping habits I want to share, but the seismic shift in perspective this webinar gave me.

It is so easy to feel so overwhelmed by climate change, and so easy to feel despondent about where to have the most impact. The answer is so simple; buy less stuff, when you do buy stuff buy good stuff that creates as little waste as possible. Recycle, reuse, and repurpose. Don’t have a car, but if you do, have an electric one, or a hybrid – but get it second hand. Don’t throw out your plastic bags – use them until they wear out then recycle them, make good choices with how you replace them.

Small 99 produce great infographics

As small business attendees Adam showed us that we can have our own “climate action plan” – and food4innov8ions now does – energy, transport, buildings, procurement, and waste are the pillars for our actions. We are building a carbon budget and a policy and when we are ready, we will publish this and hold ourselves to account. Where serving our clients means carbon emissions or wastes, we will offset and itemise this in our invoice – only when we call these things out can both sides hope to learn and change their practice.

We will encourage others to start small and start local. For example, our “Directors breakfast” could be taken at a chain coffee shop right? Well here in Inverness we have lots of independent – so we go to Café Ness. They buy their coffee from a roaster in the city – Inverness Roasting Co, a neat little outfit buying green coffee beans direct from growers. The morning rolls (a much beloved soft bread roll here in the Highlands) are baked around the corner by a family business “The Bakery” in Tomnahurich Street, the bacon is locally cured by Duncan Fraser. The money for our roll and coffee stays in the community and supports four businesses, not least of which Café Ness is providing a social impact by training young people in hospitality.

So “UKPlc” may not have changed the world completely, but this small element of COP26 certainly did change our small part here and now. I am pleased to say we are not just subscribers to the great community that Small99 has become, but we are proudly in their directory of ‘climate action and sustainability aligned businesses’ too.

Thank you, Adam, and Small99.

Start a conversation