Agenda item

Main Meeting Theme: Business

·         The Kent and Medway Healthy Workplace Award


·         Economic Development


·         Business Case Studies


3.1.        The Chair introduced the main meeting theme of business and welcomed the first presentation on the Kent and Medway Workplace Wellbeing Award.

3.2.        The Public Health Project Officer gave an overview of the Workplace Wellbeing Award, the associated benefits of a healthy workplace and how the award links into the Climate Change agenda and the environment.

3.3.        The Chair asked if the climate in which people work could be included as a key benefit of a healthy workplace. This feedback was welcomed and noted for consideration.

3.4.        The Chair asked if businesses could be asked to appoint a climate champion to be responsible for making changes. The Public Health Project Officer advised that the programme includes workplace health champions which can include climate champions and that conversations will be had to develop this further and to also develop training to support this.  It was noted that a number of businesses naturally have this role and an example was given of a firm that has been recognised for cutting air pollution and increasing recycling which could be used as case study.

ACTION: The Climate Response Team and Public Health Project officer to meet to review items discussed.

3.5.        It was noted that the environment and sustainability theme of the awards comes in at the Silver/Gold pledges stage and is expanded at Platinum level which can include influencing the community and encouraging wider participation.

3.6.        The Chair commented that it would be good to see aspects such as travel, car idling and more direct climate change impacts included in pledges and more promotion to be undertaken.

ACTION: Public Health team to seek to include more direct climate pledges and to increase promotion of actions being taken.

3.7.        The group commented on how some businesses may have solved problems with innovative ideas that could help others.  Enabling the sharing of these solutions and wider information such as the importance of trees for cooling is important.

3.8.        The group asked about the breakdown between small/medium and large/corporate businesses involved with the award. 

ACTION: The Public Health Project Officer to update Cllr Maple on split of businesses involved in the awards.

3.9.        The group suggested promoting the scheme at a breakfast session with the Medway champions where there are many individuals that could advocate for it.

ACTION: Public Health Team to promote the award programme via the Medway Champions

3.10.    The chair invited the Economic Development Team to present.

3.11.    The Principal Economic Development Officer gave an overview of his paper and invited questions.

3.12.    The Chair requested that Climate Response and Economic Development continue to work closely together, including on the potential kite mark scheme.  The Principal Economic Development Officer commented on how the kite mark will help a business to promote their environmental stance to potential staff and customers.

ACTION: Climate Response and Economic Development Teams to liaise over Kite mark scheme

3.13.    An example was shared of a business visited who was undertaking work to improve their sustainability and guidance was provided on how to calculate their emissions.  It was noted that the company had a single business card with a QR code which the council could consider.

ACTION: The Chair asked for Business Change to look at the business card idea.

3.14.    The Principal Economic Development Officer updated on another local project to reduce food waste, highlighting the work by the University of Greenwich in Medway which is leading on research at the Medway Food Innovation Centre. The Chair asked for a feature on this in a future edition of Medway Matters.

ACTION: Economic Development to share contacts with Communications for future article.

3.15.    The group highlighted that the development of a Medway kitemark for climate change would need to be considered alongside the Medway Fair Traders scheme which has a charge.  The Principal Economic Development Officer commented that it is still being explored but a bronze, silver, gold, platinum standard approach may be taken. It was noted that businesses do not know where to turn. The aim is to make it as local and high profile as possible, something unique to Medway to show corporate social responsibility towards climate change. 

3.16.    The Chair agreed that too many award schemes are confusing for businesses and that this would need to be considered through communications and perhaps the combining of schemes with a series of awards. The group agreed and suggested it is taken forward as an item at Business Support O&S as it is not just a climate change issue. The Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Place highlighted that the approach must ensure all schemes align with wider accreditations, are fit for purpose and clear for businesses.

3.17.    Councillor Maple gave thanks and left the meeting.

ACTION: Economic Development to lead on setting up a group to seek to align the various business schemes and to review examples of what has been done elsewhere.

3.18.    The group commented on the balance of the rate of economic growth against the rate of efficiencies made and savings in carbon emissions by businesses and asked what dialogue is being had with businesses on key infrastructure needs, ways to improve efficiencies and how to balance growth against carbon emissions.

3.19.    The Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Place agreed this is a fundamental challenge and highlighted the importance of the work of the Economic Development Team in supporting businesses to navigate through the metrics to be considered to reduce their carbon footprint and the systems to be adopting.

ACTION: Economic Development Team to support businesses to navigate their way to systems that can assist with measuring and reporting their carbon footprint and opportunities for adopting energy efficiency improvements.

3.20.    The Principal Economic Development Officer agreed and advised how Medway is leading the way, such as the aim for buildings at Innovation Park Medway to be Bream excellent which will provide a space for businesses to grow while reducing their carbon footprint.

3.21.    The group highlighted the importance of getting smarter and gave an example of how discussions could be had with network providers to provide feedback and receive advice to further support business needs.

3.22.    The Chair gave thanks to Economic Development and invited the presentation on Business case studies.

3.23.    The presentation on this item was not available and the Chair requested for a couple of case studies to be presented at the next meeting. It was noted that we should be finding out what a wide range of businesses are doing as an exemplar to encourage others.

ACTION: Business case studies to be included in the agenda for the next meeting, including lessons to be learnt.

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