This led to Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council declaring a climate emergency in September 2019.

They set out their aims to achieve Net Zero within the council by 2045, and across the borough by 2045. As a response, Newable and the Barnsley Council launched the Net Zero Accelerator, an exclusive project for 36 ambitious Barnsley businesses to embark on the Net Zero journey.

The Net Zero Accelerator offered businesses free and intensive support to tackle their carbon footprint. Based in Barnsley’s Business Village, the Accelerator offered:

One-to-one coaching

Bespoke one-to-one support and advice from your dedicated business coach.

In-person workshops

Free tailored workshops to gain the latest expert insights and take action.

Peer-to-peer Networks

Opportunity to collaborate with a like-minded group of 12 inspirational business leaders in Barnsley.

The programme has helped many Barnsley businesses to not only understand the net zero process and what it means for their business but to start taking action in reducing their carbon emissions.

White’s Bakery

One such business is White’s Bakery; one of the first in the region to benefit from the programme to help it become a net zero carbon emitter.

The programme came at exactly the right time for Managing Director and third-generation baker, David White, who in 2020 feared he would have to close the doors when the Covid lockdown saw sales suddenly drop by 95%.

Instead, David began measuring waste and energy, looking at cost reductions which have since transformed the business.

Waste as a source of income

“One change we made was with our waste packaging. The plastic and cardboard originally went to landfill but it’s now being sold for recycling, turning it into a source of income.”                                                 David White, Managing Director at White’s Bakery

Measuring carbon footprint is one of the key elements of the Net Zero Accelerator programme and it’s given David the tools to look more into the environmental aspect of the business and find further savings.

With some of the work on energy usage and waste packaging already underway, David has been able to focus on gathering other data for flights, hotel stays, taxi journeys and train travel. A staff survey has also taken place to understand more about the length and type of journey that employees make when commuting to work.

Potential for growth with a new factory

David is highly appreciative of the one-to-one support on the Net Zero Accelerator and has recently been working with an advisor to identify energy saving initiatives and recommendations to ensure staff buy-in. He’s also received information on the green credentials which are now available for a potential new factory.

Financial support has also been made available to the businesses through associated programmes which David has been made aware of after working with the Net Zero Accelerator team. One example is match funding for a piece of engineering in the factory which will help improve efficiency. Another is a grant to improve their digital technologies and move them from paper-based systems.

The road to net-zero

Although applications are now closed for the current accelerator, the team are planning a few exciting projects where businesses can find out more about the many exciting benefits and opportunities Net Zero can bring to your business.

Find out more about the Net Zero Accelerator programme.