A total of 30 small and independent businesses in Bradford are set to take part in a UK government-backed ‘Green Street’ sustainable high street pilot scheme.
Green Street – which aims to help high street-based organisations become more sustainable – could become a nationwide initiative if it proves successful in West Yorkshire.
Led by Bradford retailer and businesswoman, Victoria Robertshaw, and with initial funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the programme urges local businesses to sign up in the hope of building a retail community centred around agreed sustainable principles.
The initial Green Street pioneers in Bradford will undertake a free sustainability review by experts who will look to identify quick wins, cost savings and other innovations that can help make them greener businesses. Their learnings could provide a template for other small businesses around the UK.
Other benefits for the first Bradford pioneers will include unlimited and free access to digital tools to help them understand, learn and reach new customers who also want to lead more sustainable lifestyles. Free workshops run by some of the UK’s largest and most successful retailers will also be available as part of the agenda.
Robertshaw said the scheme focuses on retail and hospitality businesses, adding: “It’s all about supporting those businesses and enabling them to work together to achieve more by becoming greener.
“This not only helps the environment but can also positively influence shopping behaviour and impact their bottom line.”
She continued: “More and more consumers want to become greener and embrace lifestyle changes, and they’re looking for businesses that will help them make the transition.”
Green Street originally launched its website in 2021, offering advice to support UK retail and hospitality businesses. It has now been called upon to provide content for the government’s ‘Together For Our Planet’ campaign.
The initiative’s official website is available to any business nationally which wishes to gain useful advice on to how to become greener. The website will also allow others to follow the progress of the Bradford Green Street pioneers.
The programme is supported by the Retail Sector Council, Bradford Council, and West Yorkshire Combined Authority with support from the European Regional Development Fund. Businesses can register their interest to become a pioneer on the official website.
Bread & Roses, a co-operative cafe and co-working space, and Plant One On Me, an independent garden centre, are two companies to have registered for the Bradford scheme.
Ursula Sutcliffe, owner of Plant One On Me, commented: “City centres can be very harsh places but they don’t have to be and something like this could make a real difference where we build a community that people want to visit and shop in.
“I already use recyclable bags and keep the packaging from wholesalers to reuse. My customers are very like-minded and understand why I don’t use fancy packaging. I know they will be on board with this too.”
[Image credit: Green Street]