Half a dozen South Asian businesses have signed up for a scheme that aims to build a greener retail economy in Bradford.
The Bradford Green Street initiative, which launched at the beginning of the year, will help businesses become greener and build a sustainable shopping community.
Every organisation that signs up will receive a sustainability review which will assess the company’s gas, electricity, water, and plastic usage as well providing tips and tricks on how to save on utilities, making business more efficient and reducing costs.
Among the forty or so businesses signed up to the scheme already is MyLahore, a British-Asian fusion chain restaurant that was founded and headquartered in Bradford, Kanapeena, a supermarket found on Legrams Lane, Kala Sangam arts centre founded by Dr Shripati Upadhyaya and his wife Dr Geetha Upadhyaya in 1993, one of the old surviving chemists in Bradford, Rimmington Pharmacy, Smorgasbord Coffee Bar and luxury wedding bridal boutique, Huma Humad.
MyLahore is the first British Asian restaurant to be part of the scheme. Ishfaq Farooq, director of MyLahore Group, said being forward-thinking about sustainability and the environment is at the heart of the business.
He said: “We’re always looking at ways to help the community and do our part. As a pioneer in the industry, we’ve always looked at how we can improve our carbon footprint and do our part to reduce the impact on the environment.
“We have been committed to recycling and looking at our food waste for a while, but this is one step further. We believe that if we lead on this project, other restaurants will follow suit. With rising costs, it is hard to be profitable but at the same time, we must look after the environment.
“With the cost of energy going up, it is important for us to manage our electricity usage. Green Street gave us great ideas on how to save on gas and electricity, for example, having some of your appliances on a timer which could save the business thousands of pounds a year.”
Hummad Ilyas, managing director of Huma Humad said that he wanted to involve his company in the scheme so as to not be “left out” of the global climate change movement. He said: “We welcomed the Green Streets scheme. It is great to be a part of a local initiative to do our part as a business. Sustainability is a big issue in the UK and around the world.
“We don’t want to be left behind as a business and want to take the first step in improving the local environment. The scheme reviewed our business and showed us ways of how to improve our carbon footprint in-store through lighting and making a difference through packaging and how we ship our clothing.”
“We have been committed to recycling and looking at our food waste for a while, but this is one step further. We believe that if we lead on this project, other restaurants will follow suit. With rising costs, it is hard to be profitable but at the same time, we must look after the environment.” – Ishfaq Farooq, director of MyLahore Group.
Kala Sangam, which is a community-based arts organisation, said the commitment to climate change action through Green Street is not a “new initiative but an evolution of its existing environmental policy.”
Steve O’Connell, head of commercial at Kala Sangam, said: “As a community-based arts organisation, we believe that we have a responsibility to lead the way in our approach to environmental responsibility.
“Working with Green Street, we have already taken steps to reduce our carbon footprint and through the initiative, we are now developing skills and knowledge to bring our cultural and environmental practices together.
“This is not a new commitment, but rather an evolution of our existing environmental policy and action plan. We look beyond our carbon footprint, to expand our ambitions and embed environmental thinking into everything that we do.”
These businesses are all committed to making their business more sustainable and offering a more planet-friendly experience for their customers. Those signed up to the Bradford Green Street have agreed to:
- Reduce energy consumption by using more energy-efficient equipment, changing behaviours and monitoring energy usage
- Take steps to prevent, recycle and reuse as much waste as possible
- Reduce the amount of packaging used and passed on to customers
- Eliminate as much single-use plastic as possible from their businesses
- Actively explore to provide more locally sourced and sustainable products and services for their customers
- Share learnings and collaborate closely with suppliers to provide a greener supply chain
- Inspire their customers and team to make sustainable changes and become more planet-friendly.
- In return, the participating Bradford Green Street retailers will receive free support, guidance and marketing support, as well as access to digital tools to help them understand how to reach new customers who currently or want to live sustainable lifestyles.
There will also be opportunities provided to companies signed-up to attend free workshops on topics run by some of the UK’s largest and most successful retailers, as well as a chance to regularly network with like-minded businesses.
Bradford businesswoman and Retail Sector Council (RSC) member, Victoria Robertshaw, is a key figure behind the launch of the scheme. She said: “By embracing Green Street’s philosophy and expertise these businesses are already identifying and adopting new ways of working that will make them more profitable over time by saving on overheads and attracting customers who are keen to become more sustainable.
“It could be small changes to start with, for example, changing to LED lightbulbs or having a free water refill station on the premises to discourage single-use plastic bottles. Other more ambitious targets can be introduced gradually but everything we do points to becoming a smarter, greener business.”
Initial funding for the initiative was provided by the Department from the Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, with additional support coming from the RSC, Bradford Council, and West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
Bradford Green Street is a pilot programme, but the organisers aim to roll out further schemes across the UK under the Green Street banner.