VMI.TV based in North Acton, is one of the businesses to make it to the shortlist in two categories: Green Race to Zero Business and Park Royal Business of the Year.
EALING.NEWS caught up with Barry Bassett, managing director, to find out more about what it means to be shortlisted, being based in Ealing, challenges they face and future plans.
What it means to be short listed?
We have worked super hard to achieve an impressive sustainability strategy, so that we have a practical and realistic roadmap of being able to achieve net-zero accreditation by 2030. Recognition of this by West London Business is a real boost to us and is incredibly important to show others the importance in taking action in difficult actions, like mitigating our individual effects on climate change.
What does being based in Ealing mean to your business?
Ealing is an excellent location for the access it gives us to London, whilst having space to grow and the incidence of a local cluster of similar media companies, with whom we work together in order to support London’s growing and blossoming TV/Film industry.
What are the key challenges you face in your business today?
Simply, every area of our business has suffered rising costs and without business growth, we will slowly weaken and then go out of business. Rents have doubled this year; interest rates are approaching double that of 2019; double digit salary rises and increasing costs are being felt in every area. Collectively, this has meant that we have been forced to increase the rates that we charge our clients which will lead to further inflationary pressure imposed on others, whilst at the same time, opportunities outside the UK have also been badly curtailed by the inevitable effects caused by Brexit.
However, we are strong enough to commit to spending circa £50K this year on green actions to expand our solar provision and increase building insulation, which will help to mitigate energy cost rises and continue our green agenda.
We are a well run business and our clients like what we do, so we remain profitable and able to continue with our present plans.
Where do you see your business in a year or two from now?
We continually monitor the progress of several key ratios which indicate the financial health of the company and these continue to be strong.
We are planning for double digit growth this year and expect that we will continue to be sufficiently profitable to expand to a third branch in Manchester or Cardiff in 2024.
Our sustainability plan is quite advanced and we reduced our emissions by 9% in 2021 and expect a greater fall to be measured when for 2022 when our 3rd CO2 audit is completed next month. This will be offset, so that we will be officially carbon neutral this year and are planning that will have halved our carbon emissions compared with our base year of 2019, in 2025.
What can Ealing Council do for you to help your business?
Support West London Business – they have grown the membership enormously but funding for a key member of staff may no longer be available to continue this. A network of local business and forum to help shape local and national policy from the inside is incredibly helpful.
What can the government do for you to help your business?
Broadly, more financial help to fund local sustainability projects. We created a project to increase our solar PV provision from 10KW to 40KW which we forecast would cushion the massive rise in power prices expected in early 2023, yet we could find no grants to help us with this, so are funding this ourselves. Government policy can make a massive impact here.
What are you most proud of so far in what your business has achieved?
Our net zero commitments, which have inspired both our staff and our clients but also our wider industry as well.
VMI is located at Unit 7, Victoria Industrial Estate, Victoria Road, London, W3 6UU