Bradford city centre has been chosen as the location for the UK’s first Green Street action research pilot that aims to help small and independent businesses go green.

Led by successful Bradford retailer and businesswoman Victoria Robertshaw, with initial funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Green Street is supported by the Retail Sector Council (RSC), Bradford Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority (with support from the European Regional Development Fund).

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Bradford city centre businesses are now being urged to sign up to Green Street with 30 retail and hospitality businesses selected to take part in the pilot. Following the success of the first pilot, the aim is to roll out further Green Street schemes across the UK into dozens of towns, cities and high streets.

Green Street originally launched its website in 2021, initially offering advice to support UK retail and hospitality businesses. Its reputation and popularity quickly grew and its expertise has been called upon to provide content for the Government’s Together For Our Planet campaign. As the Green Street momentum continues, the Bradford pilot will take its research to the next level with bricks and mortar businesses.

Victoria explained: “Green Street is a truly innovative sustainability scheme that focuses on retail and hospitality businesses. 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.

“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. We also believe that by being more sustainable, it will help Green Street businesses cut costs, reduce waste, increase sales, as well as help the planet.”

The initial Green Street Bradford pioneers will undertake a free sustainability review by experts who will look to identify quick wins, cost savings and adopting other innovations that all point to a greener business.

As the pilot gathers pace, Green Street will be learning what works best, as well as taking away valuable lessons and accumulating crucial data on participants’ progress. The Green Street team will also be measuring any financial benefits gained by the first Bradford-based pioneers and explore the opportunities to build a retail community centred around agreed sustainable principles.

Bread & Roses, a co-operative café and co-working space and Plant One On Me, an independent garden centre based on John Street already have registered to become Green Street Bradford pioneers.

Ursula Sutcliffe, owner of Plant One On Me: “I’m very excited about Green Street and what I can learn and take away from being part of the project. 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.”

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. There will also be opportunities to attend free workshops run by some of the UK’s largest and most successful retailers, and pioneers will be able to share experiences with other engaged businesses.

Victoria added: “If you’re a small or independent retailer or hospitality business in Bradford city centre, we really want to hear from you. It’s completely free to join the pilot and there are so many benefits to enjoy, not just for the retailers taking part, but their customers and ultimately the local community and supporting the Bradford Clean Growth Strategy.”

The Green Street website is available to any businesses nationally which wish to gain useful advice on to how to become greener or follow the Bradford Green Street pioneers on their journey.

Businesses can register their interest to become a pioneer here: https://greenstreet.org.uk/join-us.

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