UK's green companies (Sustainable business examples)

Updated 7 August 2023

Many companies are introducing eco-friendly practices to reduce their carbon footprint. As more companies focus on producing green products and services, there may be more career opportunities for professionals interested in sustainability and green practices. If you're interested in working for an eco-friendly business, you may find some of the companies mentioned in this article worth exploring. In this article, we provide some sustainable business examples of companies that are employing eco-friendly and sustainable business practices and some that are working towards achieving zero-emission status.

Related: How to become a sustainability consultant (With steps)

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13 sustainable business examples

There are sustainable business examples in many industries. This includes companies in the manufacturing, food and beverage, transport and logistics, energy and agriculture sectors. Many companies are developing more environmentally-friendly practices. Those companies that can demonstrate their green credentials can achieve ISO 14001 accreditation, which is an international environmental management standard.

Here is a list of some sustainable businesses that you might consider in your job search:

1. bio-bean

bio-bean is a waste recycling company that takes used coffee grounds and turns them into logs that provide a clean source of fuel. bio-bean's recycling programme uses coffee grounds that would otherwise go into landfill sites and reduces overall carbon emissions. This company employs hires professionals such as marketing executives and process development engineers.

2. Green Tomato Cars

This ISO 14001-certified London-based taxi service operates a fleet of 600 hybrid vehicles and a fleet of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. To help the company achieve zero-emission status, it offsets its carbon emissions by planting trees every year. The company may employ professionals in the logistics and finance departments. They also frequently recruit drivers.

3. Innocent Drinks

Innocent Drinks is a food and beverages company that sources fruit for its smoothies via the Rainforest Alliance, an organisation that works with farmers to conserve biodiversity and protect farmworkers' rights. The company incorporated recycled plastic in its packaging and donates some of its annual profits to charities. The company may employ professionals in logistics and technology among other departments.

4. Leon Restaurants

Leon Restaurants is a fast-food chain that focuses on sustainability. Their menu features seasonal local produce, with a third of the choices being vegan and two-thirds vegetarian. The company also sells Fairtrade organic coffee with proceeds going to the World Land Trust. The company serves takeaways in compostable packaging and has replaced plastic straws and cutlery with biodegradable alternatives. The company employs people including administrators and restaurant staff.

5. Limejump

This London-based company operates in the sustainable energy sector. Limejump's platform uses data science and artificial intelligence (AI) to connect and optimise solar, wind, hydro, gas, anaerobic digestion, biomass and CHP energy from waste and batteries. They help provide energy for homes and commercial buildings. Limejump employs professionals including admin staff, legal counsel, software developers and marketing specialists.

Related: Guide: Marketing career paths and progression (Plus skills)

6. MacRebur Roads

MacRebur Roads works to resolve two sustainability issues at once. These are the accumulation of non-recyclable plastic waste and the cost and danger of poor-quality roads. By mixing plastic waste with asphalt, the company creates more durable road surfaces. MacRebur's process helps to recycle plastic bottles while creating more sustainable pathways. The company has a small workforce involved in admin and project design.

7. Pavegen

This London-based technology company has developed paving tiles that convert footsteps into kinetic energy via electromagnetic generators. The company has installed these tiles in high-traffic pedestrian spots, such as shopping centres and transport hubs, in more than 30 countries. Pavegen employs professionals in a variety of roles, including marketing specialists, research assistants and data analysts.

Related: A brief guide on how to become a research scientist

8. Recycling Technologies

Recycling Technologies has developed modular technology to convert mixed plastic waste into feedstock for new plastic production. The solution can be installed at existing waste sites anywhere in the world to divert plastic waste from landfills and incinerators and prevent it from leaking into the environment. The company employs professionals in a variety of roles, including engineers, technologists, research analysts, business strategists and intellectual property analysts.

Related: Engineer requirements, plus degrees, certificates and skills

9. Toast Ale

The Toast brewery uses unsold loaves and crusts from bakeries and sandwich makers to make ale and lager. The only other ingredients they use are hops, yeast and water. The company helps reduce food waste, save water and reduce overall emissions. Toast Ale donated 100% of its profits to charities working towards eliminating food waste. The company hires professionals mainly in sales and marketing.

10. Tokamak Energy

Oxford-based Tokamak Energy is a global commercial fusion energy company. A tokamak is a machine that harnesses the energy produced through the fusion of atoms. The company aims to build a fusion reactor by 2030, which it expects to produce clean, economic and globally deployable fusion energy. The company employs people involved in electronic, electrical and mechanical engineering, science, physics, information technology and environmental health and safety.

11. Worn Again Technologies

Worn Again Technologies' polymer recycling technology separates, decontaminates and extracts polyester polymers and cellulose from cotton, non-reusable textiles, PET bottles and packaging. The company converts this into new textile raw materials which are returned into supply chains to become new products as part of a continual cycle. The company's vision is for a waste-free world where all textiles resources remain in constant circulation, driving positive economic, social and environmental benefits. The company employs professionals such as scientists and laboratory technicians.

12. Green Courier

Green Courier is a London-based environmentally friendly courier service, promoting sustainable solutions for the rapid dispatch market. The company operates a mix of zero and ultra-low emission vehicles, including bicycles, electric vans and motorcycles. The company also records all its carbon emissions and offsets this via the World Land Trust. The company employs professionals such as couriers, fleet managers and admin staff.

13. TfL

At the beginning of 2021, Transport for London's (TfL) fleet comprised more than 400 buses fully powered by electricity and plans to add approximately 300 additional zero-emission buses by the end of 2021. 10% of London's bus network will be zero-emission by the end of 2022 and 100% by 2030.

By phasing out diesel buses and retrofitting older buses with cleaner engines, TfL's entire fleet of 9,000 buses meets or exceeds the cleanest Euro VI emissions standards. The company employs more than 14,000 people working in communications and media relations, legal affairs, crime risk management, business analysis, transport planning, software development and many more roles.

Thermal imaging companies

Thermal imaging helps local authorities identify properties that are losing heat and those that lend themselves to producing solar energy. Here are two companies active in this field. While not technically green companies themselves, both contribute to reducing pollution and energy wastage:

1. Satellite Vu

Founded in 2016, Satellite Vu plans to launch seven thermal and infrared imaging satellites into space. These satellites are capable of providing real-time data on the thermal footprint of every building on the planet. By measuring the heat emitted from buildings, Satellite Vu can provide data to show if any individual building is being heated inefficiently or which parts of the city are the worst emissions offenders. The company hires professionals involved in geospatial engineering, thermal remote sensing science, geographical information system (GIS) data science and more roles.

2. Bluesky

Bluesky's digital imagery helps manage air pollution and energy wastage. Bluesky has mapped every single roof in the UK to determine which roofs have the right orientation, pitch and usable roof area to accommodate solar panels. Bluesky presents this data as a solar panel suitability map showing the solar potential for individual roofs.

Bluesky has also recorded light detection and ranging (LiDAR) measurements for seven commercial farms across Northern Ireland, which, combined with actual carbon inputs and outputs, enables the baseline greenhouse gas positions for each farm to be accurately calculated. Apart from admin staff, the company employs aerial survey teams including airborne operators and flight planners.

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Additional companies committed to net zero

As of 2021, a third of the UK's biggest companies have signed up to the United Nations' Race to Zero campaign, which is a global initiative to commit businesses to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Here are some of the committed companies:

  • Aviva (2040)

  • BT Group

  • Burberry Group

  • GlaxoSmithKline

  • Intertek

  • JD Sports

  • Rolls Royce Holdings

  • J Sainsbury

  • Tesco

  • Unilever

  • Vodafone

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.


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