Helping businesses transition to net zero, new research and more!

We aim to make a practical difference by supporting rural businesses to transition to net zero.

We co-hosted an event in June with Food and Drink North East and the Rural Design Centre Innovation Project to help food and drink businesses move towards sustainable delivery.

‘Delivering the goods’ brought together producers, companies specialising in low-carbon delivery and businesses already using these methods.

It provided an opportunity to explore the main barriers businesses are facing when moving to low-carbon transport logistics and to generate innovative ideas on how these could be overcome.

Find out more and watch the recording.

In July, we took part in the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s  ‘Your business journey to Net Zero’ event to give SMEs in the South West practical solutions and tools to help them achieve their low-carbon goals.

We showcased net zero in rural enterprise and spoke to Will Mansell, from The Bike Drop, and Lizzie Dyer, from Just Kidding, about their own net zero journeys while David Buckpitt, from our business partners Azets, gave tips and advice.

These events together form part of a new initiative ‘Just one thing’ - our rural business community. Now’s the time to make small changes and move towards net zero in business and we want every business to do something, just one thing to start their journey.

Our Facebook group is for businesses to share their ideas, their experiences and their challenges of being more sustainable – join us. pass on the link and reduce carbon together.

New research

We undertake research to fill gaps in current knowledge of rural enterprise and innovation and have published three reports since April:

  • Rural SMEs and the net zero agenda

Businesses in rural areas appear to be more strongly focused on environmental issues with 45% of rural firms saying that they always consider the environmental implications of business decisions, compared with only 37% of urban firms.

Our research showed that 86% of rural businesses said that environmental impact should be part of a business’s bottom line, compared to 79% of their urban counterparts.

Find out more and read the report.

  • Exploring innovation and digital innovation in micro-businesses

Our research found that rural micro-businesses are less likely to be innovating than similar firms in urban locations.

Find out more and read the report.

  • Digital adoption in rural SMEs

Businesses in rural areas cited broadband capacity as a major obstacle to digital adoption with 42% of rural firms compared to 31% of urban firms saying it was a barrier they faced to embracing digital technologies.

Our research showed that rural firms approach digital technologies differently from urban firms and that rural businesses have lower levels of digital adoption.

Find out more and read the report.

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