Earth Overshoot Day


How businesses can become more sustainable in today’s climate

Article written by Tanja Tix. 

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year (Global Footprint Network), a phenomenon that has gotten a lot of attention in the recent years due to the ever-growing climate crisis. And this year, it is happening earlier in the year than ever before.

Cambridge Cleantech supports the goal to delay Earth Overshoot Day by promoting the innovative solutions of our members, from generating zero carbon energy, to developing smarter, more energy efficient cities and encouraging recycling to reduce waste. We also believe it is important to play our own part and we follow the principles of the circular economy in re-using, recycling and choosing suppliers with strong environmental credentials and by way of example, we use Seacourt Printing, a planet positive printer which has won a number of environmental awards, for our printing needs.

During our annual Cleantech Futures conference earlier in the month, we hosted a cleantech innovator showcase where we asked small businesses to tell us how their business helps to solve a sustainable development goal, and what steps they take themselves to become more sustainable. This was also the theme of the keynote speech from British Antarctic Survey’s Dr Beatrix Schlarb, where she asked each attendee to commit to one actionable step to combat the  1.5˚C challenge.


Here are a few of their answers:

Concerning mobility and carbon emission reduction, we had two start-ups from the E-bike sector showcasing their products:

Bizbike is developing 90% solar-energy powered E-Bikes and an all-weather ultra-light electric CitiPod, to offer shared commuter e-bike services in Cambridge, thereby also reducing traffic congestion. Flit on the other hand have developed and just launched a lightweight folding E-bike, to help to get people cycling who otherwise may not consider it, due to the practical nature and aesthetic appeal of their bikes. They use highly recyclable material such as aluminium for manufacturing and ensure that the batteries they use can be recycled correctly in each country their bikes are sold in to avoid harmful waste.

Another innovator, Propelair, aims to reduce water waste in toilet flushes with their air-pressure powered, low water usage flushing system. Using Propelair toilets can help companies save up to 60% on its waste and sewage bills, cut down on maintenance costs going forward and help achieve sustainability goals. As such, Propelair provides a solution for companies and buildings where sustainability, a reduction in carbon emissions and water use are a priority.

Furthermore, LCMB, Oxfordshire-based building performance specialists and members of Cambridge Cleantech, work to assist other businesses in improving their sustainability. Most recently, they have been working with Oxford Brookes University and industry partners to improve the indoor environment quality in offices, uncovering the relationship between our indoor environment and the impact it has on building users concerning health, wellbeing, and productivity. With that, they are helping their clients “define a workplace that is clean, green, cost-effective and operationally superb,” said Junior Consultant Max Biddlestone.

As for taking personal responsibility and steps towards becoming more sustainable as businesses, our conference’s visitors commit to things like cutting single-use plastic, meat and frequent flights from their office life. Others said they are keen on finding additional partnering opportunities to offer their sustainable products and technology. Chris Pointon from Cambridgeshire Climate Emergency commented that they are planning to “galvanise mass participation in making the county carbon neutral as quickly as possible, serving as a model for the rest of the country, and hopefully the world”.