The 4 reasons why businesses should use carbon neutral suppliers

Carbon neutrality is a really good thing. In this current climate (quite literally this current climate) it’s something we should all be thinking about and working towards in our personal and professional lives.

You may have heard the term thrown around a lot but still aren’t 100% sure what it means, so let’s kick things off with a quick definition and a bit of background.

A carbon neutral business is one that causes no net release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That can be achieved through the most popular option, carbon offsetting, or by building in carbon neutrality from the get go – like Packfleet with our 100% electric van fleet.

The thing is that carbon neutral suppliers are still very much in the minority. The delivery industry, for example, has traditionally been a very carbon heavy industry – a big polluter. And it still is today: in 2022 it was reported that global shipping is responsible for 3% of worldwide greenhouse gases. Make no mistake, that’s a heck of a lot – and it needs to change. But that change will only start to come when more businesses transition to carbon neutral services.

Here are the four reasons why they should.

Environmental responsibility

Every business has its own carbon footprint and a responsibility to help preserve the environment for future generations. Both the footprint and responsibility extend to your suppliers, too – if they’re leaving a bigger mark than they should, you’ve to some extent enabled that.

While an unsustainable supplier contributes to your business’s carbon emissions, works against your own sustainability initiatives and, nowadays, can wreck your reputation (more on that soon), carbon neutral suppliers do the complete opposite. Making the transition demonstrates your business’s commitment to sustainability and its environmental responsibility.

Regulatory compliance

Carbon neutrality is a big focus for government, which is why in many countries and regions there are laws and regulations designed to limit the amount of greenhouse gas emissions businesses are allowed to produce.

In the UK, like many other nations, we're working towards net zero by 2050, which is the focus of legislation like the Climate Change Act and many other policy initiatives. It’s a monster goal and things aren’t quite going to plan as of yet, which will surely mean that new legislation won’t be too far away – putting further pressure on change.

Just like your suppliers fall into your environmental responsibility as a business, they also influence your ability to meet environmental regulations and avoid potential penalties or fines. Carbon neutrality is more than just the right thing to do, it’s going to be a key feature of a business’s longevity.

Brand reputation

Today a business’s environmental impact arguably has the greatest influence on its brand reputation – just look at the massive growth of B Corps and the global adoration for planet-first clothing brand Patagonia.

Why is this happening? Because in today's world people are much more aware of the impact businesses have on the environment. Be it choosing to or not to buy from that business, putting their investments into or out of a certain industry, or choosing to apply to or quit from certain companies, people are placing a greater emphasis on sustainability when making their big decisions.

A supplier that has a negative impact on the planet can tarnish a business’s reputation, and – you know what’s coming – a carbon neutral supplier can enhance your business’s reputation because they can help to align it with society’s values. They can even be a very powerful marketing tool.

Competitive advantage

These reasons all ladder up to this final one: carbon neutral suppliers can give businesses a big competitive advantage.

By demonstrating your business’s acknowledgement of its environmental responsibility, bettering your compliance with environmental regulations and improving your brand reputation, you’re pushing yourself ahead of competitors that simply aren’t.

This puts you in a better position to attract new and retain old customers, appeal to job seekers who value sustainability and galvanise your team behind shared goals far bigger than your business. You can unlock new partnerships and collaborations with like-minded businesses, and even access new markets where there’s growing demand.

It’s really a no brainer.