The green shoots of recovery

As Lancashire slowly emerges from lockdown, most companies are focused on returning to business as usual – or as close as they can possibly get to it.

Sustainability, carbon emissions and the environment may still be on the radar, but maybe not a priority. Mark Nelson, business engagement officer on the Making Carbon Work (MaCaW) project believes they have to be.

He says companies not only cut costs but improve efficiency when lowering their carbon footprint, and it will set them on the path to winning more business.

Mark sees cutting emissions and energy saving playing a major part in the county’s road to economic recovery in the wake of Covid-19.

MaCaW is an academic and industry collaboration designed to help Lancashire SMEs overcome challenges and barriers in moving towards a low carbon model.

Led by The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the project helps businesses implement low energy practices and processes to reduce their carbon burden, as well as making cost savings.

Mark says its free support could make a real difference to SMEs in the current climate. He believes all businesses should factor carbon reduction into their recovery plans.

He explains: “At this time, when finances are more stretched than ever, the opportunity to save money is one no business can afford to pass up.

“We can help organisations lower their carbon footprint in a range of ways. Many of our recommendations will be low or no-cost, saving money on energy with minimal investment.

“And where larger investment could deliver even greater efficiencies, we’ll match it with a grant of up to £15,000.

“To date, our support has saved local businesses an average of £7,242 annually each. In the current climate, that’s a figure to make any business sit up and take notice.”

He adds: “With many of the businesses we work with, switching to a low carbon operation presents a massive opportunity to find new process efficiencies.

“The intention is always to deliver the same result, quicker, using less energy. As we leave lockdown, that could be a valuable exercise for every business.”

Mark says that for many SMEs looking to work with larger partners, the ability to show meaningful action in reducing their carbon footprint can be vital.

Without it, businesses may not even make it onto the tendering process, missing out to competitors with well-honed carbon reduction processes.

To benefit from the MaCaW project your business must:

  • Be located in the Lancashire region
  • Employ 250 employees or less
  • Have either an annual turnover that is equal to or less than €50million or a balance sheet
    total that is equal to or less than €43million

MaCaW is a University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) project, funded by the ERDF alongside
UCLan, and supported by Boost; Lancashire’s business growth hub.
For more information, email


The bright sparks at MaCaW helped a leading lighting manufacturer make its headquarters more environmentally friendly.

Chelsom, based in Blackpool, makes and designs decorative lighting solutions for the global hospitality and cruise sectors.

Managing director Will Chelsom used the project’s specialist support to make the business more environmentally friendly.

A range of recommendations was estimated to offset the firm’s carbon output by 33.9 tonnes of CO2e emissions per year and also save the firm over £11,000 a year on energy costs.

Will says it is about more than just money.

"While we have intentions to offer greener solutions to our clients in the long term, I felt it was important that we were able to get our own house in order first.”


A growing Lancashire business has committed to going carbon neutral, with support from the MaCaW team.

Private Label Nutrition manufactures and delivers a range of nutritional supplements from the Fylde coast.

MaCaW’s support allowed company director James Wilson to promote the environmental credentials of his company as it looked to further grow its exports.

He said: “Manufacturing nutraceuticals tends to be a carbon heavy business. We want to reduce that environmental impact.”

Energy auditors carried out a free assessment of the company’s new factory and recommended improvements to help cut its carbon output by 18 tonnes per year, resulting in savings of over £9,000.

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