Why SMEs pave the way to a greener future  

Nov 28 2023

Having witnessed the gradual increase in global temperatures and biodiversity loss throughout my life, it’s extremely reassuring that these topics are now taking centre stage at COP28. Despite the controversy about its location and who’s hosting, we must find joy that these topics are finally getting the attention they deserve. It’s been a long time coming, but now it’s here, it’s a very a positive time to be alive. 

Since graduating with a degree in Biology back in the 80’s, my personal mission has been to tell the story of how life on earth can be sustainable for us humans – and I still believe that video is the best way story-telling method that we have. A dramatic story that I broke in my Climate Change documentary in 1990 was from the Centre for Ice and Climate at the University of Copenhagen. From looking at ice cores they can see that the temperature thousands of years ago was much less stable than it is now, and it’s our ocean currents that keep our current temperatures steady. Melt too many icebergs and fresh water will collapse the system and cause temperatures in Europe to plunge. Ice age here we come!  

What a surprising outcome for global warming. 

With that in mind, when I founded Skylark Media in 2005 it was even more important to get that environmental story told. So, in the past couple of years, we’ve created videos about hydrogen power, carbon capture and even mycorrhizal fungi for soil health.  

Every project is an opportunity for us to showcase our dedication to sustainability. From using eco-friendly filming practices to employing local talent, we ensure that our actions reflect our values. And by sharing our purpose with our clients, we not only create meaningful connections but also inspire a collective commitment to making a positive impact. 

In 2022 we were awarded B Corp status. This means we put people and planet alongside profit as a measure of success – something that’s much easier to do if you don’t have to appease shareholders and their desire for financial return.  

It’s clear that due to bureaucratic structures and entrenched processes large organisations face challenges in implementing change and adding sustainability to their mission. SMEs, unburdened by such complexities, can innovate more rapidly, implementing eco-friendly technologies and practices that can have a profound impact on their environmental footprint.  

COP28 serves as a reminder of the urgent need for collective action, and SMEs are proving to be nimble actors in this scenario. By incorporating sustainable practices into their core values, B Corp video production companies like ours are setting an example for larger organisations. The commitment to green initiatives isn’t just a buzzword for us; it’s a fundamental aspect of our identity. 

SMEs, particularly those embracing the B Corp philosophy, are taking centre stage in the journey towards a greener future. As COP28 prompts global discussions on sustainability, these agile and mission-driven enterprises are proving that size is not a limitation when it comes to making a positive impact. Through our commitment to embedding sustainability from the outset, B Corp companies are not just producing outstanding work; they are crafting a narrative for a better, more sustainable world. 

For the Skylark team, sustainability isn’t just a checkbox; it’s the lens through which we approach everything. By effectively communicating our purpose, we foster a culture of awareness, creating a ripple effect that goes far beyond our immediate reach. 

How SMEs can do their bit: 

  • Get people and planet legally embedded in the governance of your company so that this can be preserved even through exit transactions or acquisitions 
  • Add social and environmental performance to your job descriptions so everyone knows that they need to play their part 
  • Look at where your suppliers are and opt for local talent 
  • Invest in sustainability eg: recycling, reducing business travel, sourcing ethically 
  • Make sure any cloud data storage or website hosting uses green energy 
  • Build sustainable behaviours by getting everyone in the company to find out their giki score

Jo Haywood

Jo is Managing Director at Skylark Media. She founded the business in 2005 after carving out a career making climate change documentaries for the BBC and Discovery Channel. She is an environmental campaigner and avid tree-planter.