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Cambridge City Council

Corporate social responsibility

We are keen to work with businesses and other partners to address key issues in Cambridge, including:

  • Tackling climate change
  • Reducing poverty and income inequality
  • Promoting digital inclusion
  • Promoting equality and celebrating diversity

Help us make a difference

Your business can help make a difference in the following ways:

Climate change and sustainability

Measure your carbon footprint and make a plan

  • Use the Cambridge Climate Change Charter to pledge to identify your business’s climate change impact and to develop a plan for how you can reduce the emissions from your business over time.
  • Use a business carbon footprint calculator to identify your business’ climate change impact. Use this to make a decarbonisation plan, setting out how you can reduce your emissions over time;
  • Commit to reviewing your progress annually and, if possible, publish your progress;
  • Remember to engage with your supply chain, ask them about their carbon footprint to get a more complete picture of the emissions you account for.

Reduce your energy usage

  • Switch to a 100% renewable energy provider to reduce your carbon emissions
  • Review your thermostat to make sure it is heating where, when and to the level required; and install a smart meter so that you can monitor and reduce your energy consumption- it may help to assign someone to keep an eye on consumption.
  • In your building, loft and wall cavity insulation can significantly reduce your heating requirements. Installing LED lights use much less energy and last up to 50x longer than traditional bulbs, offering a significant carbon and financial saving over traditional bulbs. Further information is available from the Carbon Trust. Other space heating saving tips are available from the Energy Saving Trust.
  • If you are renting space discuss the energy performance certificate (EPC) with the landlord and explore options to improve it, noting that the lower the EPC rating the higher your usage bills.

Travel sustainably

  • Reduce business travel by car and flying where possible, such as through flexible working, video-conferencing or using public transport.
  • Consider the use of bikes, ebikes and eCargo bikes for local business travel;
  • Where driving is unavoidable, consider using car-clubs or buying or leasing electric cars and vans. Remember to consider the costs over the vehicle’s lifetime;
  • Understand how your staff commute and join up to a cycle to work scheme. While there are various ones they all focus on allowing staff to buy bikes tax-free.

Reduce your waste

  • Reduce plastic packaging, cutlery and other disposable materials, and use reusable cups and food containers;
  • Recycle food waste. Decomposing food produces methane which is 25x more potent than carbon dioxide, so ensuring your food waste is properly disposed of can lead to a big carbon saving. It can also save money, as it can reduce the number of regular waste collections for your business.
  • Sign up to the Sustainable Food Pledge or seek support from Cambridge Sustainable Food ,who provide support and information in making positive environmental and ethical choices
  • Consider your purchasing and procurement. It may be advantageous to buy in bulk, reducing packaging and transport emissions. Speak to like-minded businesses and put ideas into action, such as grouped deliveries.

Reducing poverty and income inequality

  • Pay the Real Living Wage that is independently calculated to reflect real living costs. Become accredited with the Living Wage Foundation to demonstrate your commitment to fair pay. To find out more information and which employers in Cambridge are accredited visit our Living Wage webpage or email
  • Donate to local charities that are tackling poverty and supporting those on low incomes. The majority of funding for charities tends to go to larger, national charities. In 2019, in the UK 81% of income to the voluntary and community sector went to the largest 4% of charities.
  • Develop Employer Supported Volunteering (ESV) with local charities that are tackling poverty and supporting those on low incomes. ESV is when you give your employees time and resources to encourage them to support local good causes. Charities could do so much more if they could access your employees’ skills in fundraising, accountancy, IT, strategic planning, marketing and HR. Contact the Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service for advice and information on local brokerage services.

Promoting digital inclusion

Research shows that people on low incomes are less likely to have access to the internet. The internet makes applying for jobs and benefits easier, and gives access to cheaper energy deals. It also makes helps people keep in touch with friends and family.

  • Support your staff to join the network of volunteer digital champions offering support across Cambridge, particularly in our less affluent wards, to anybody who wishes to improve their knowledge and confidence. Read Cambridge Online’s digital inclusion directory for more information. Digital champions don’t have to be experts. Training and support are available for any of your staff who may have an hour or two to spare. Contact Cambridge Online to find out more.
  • Provide expert digital support to local charities and community groups. This could include web design, marketing or using social media. If your business has these skills and wants to help, contact the Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service.
  • Ensure your employees have the digital skills they need to thrive in the modern economy. This can help your business, too. There are many online resources that can help – Learn My Way is a good place to start.

Promoting equality and celebrating diversity

  • Sign up to the Equality Pledge and commit to appreciate and value the benefits that different communities contribute to Cambridge and the surrounding region.
  • Run Dementia Friends information sessions at your workplace. These interactive sessions run by the Alzheimer’s Society will increase your understanding of dementia and help you think about the small things that you can do to make a difference to people affected by dementia in your community.
  • Make your business a Safe Space for LGBTQ+ people. Local charity Encompass Network supplies businesses and public sector organisations with information and training so that people of all genders and sexualities can feel relaxed and protected.
  • Make the Stop Suicide Pledge. The Stop Suicide campaign seeks to challenge the stigma and myths around suicide, to alert communities to the warning signs of suicidal behaviour, and reassure them that an open and honest approach to suicide is the best way to prevent it.
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