THE University of Brighton’s Green Growth Platform is running a programme of sustainability masterclasses, designed for busy SMEs in Sussex.

Courses are led by Susie Howells, director of Greenmetrics, in association with sustainable events specialist Muon Events.

Sustainability in Action masterclasses are designed for smaller businesses with practical guidance to help you make business more sustainable, exploring leadership skills to build a reputation as a responsible business.

They cover how to manage important social and environmental issues, demystifying the corporate jargon, with great ideas to win business, save money and manage the risks and opportunities of a changing world.

Susie explains why sustainability matters for business.

She said: “SMEs represent more than 99 per cent of UK businesses, employing around 60 per cent of the workforce and contributing more than £1.8bn (around 47 per cent) to our economy.

“They’re spread across all the sectors, from business services to manufacturing, printing to healthcare; and from cafes to construction.

“Smaller businesses sometimes struggle to engage effectively with sustainability, mainly because it’s hard to find the time, money or opportunity to learn; with the perception that it’s nice to do, but too difficult with the pressures of business.

“This course is designed to address this and to equip managers with the skills they need to integrate important issues into everyday decision-making.”

Sustainability means a more strategic and balanced approach to business with a longer-term view, taking account of social and environmental aspects, alongside the traditional economic focus.

She said: “It’s always better to prevent a problem than to deal with the damage afterwards, for example considering the costs of preventing an oil leak vs an expensive clean-up.

“So we focus on a systematic approach which helps to identify, assess and balance social, environmental and economic risks in business, evaluating and prioritising impacts in a way that enhances broader business strategy.

“As small businesses, we are constantly having to compete for new work, innovate and demonstrate that competitive edge, and an authentic approach to sustainability is well-favoured in tender evaluation when bidding for new contracts.

“Smaller businesses can be pretty agile and responsive; and businesses who do this well report better cost and resource efficiency, more positive employee and community relationships, improved ability to attract and retain good people, increased business resilience; and reputational benefits - all bringing competitive advantage.

The next sessions will be in Worthing on March 21 and Hove on June 5.

Visit the Muon Events website for more information.

There is an early bird discount of 20 per cent to Sussex businesses who book by midnight on March 11 – Code EARLYBIRD20. .