A report from a coalition of top business groups, energy networks and expert bodies released today finds that small business want to play a key role in the UK’s journey to net zero, but often don’t know where to start.
The research, entitled Small businesses advice on net zero: discovery phase, was commissioned by a new coalition called the Zero Carbon Business Partnership, comprising several of the UK’s leading business, energy, industry and education bodies including, amongst others, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the British Chambers of Commerce, Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the British Retail Consortium (BRC), Make UK, Electricity North West, Northern Powergrid and Western Power Distribution. It is the first time that a coalition of this magnitude has come together to drive SME progress towards the UK’s legally binding net zero target.
It finds that as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) emerge from lockdown and look to reconsider their investments, despite caring about cutting carbon, they are unsure where to start; where and how to get help; need to put financial viability at the heart of decisions to cut carbon, and have no time to research a net-zero strategy for themselves.
The UK Government’s ambition for net zero cannot be realised without an empowered and supportive small business community. Evidence suggests that while small businesses support net-zero objectives, they do not yet understand their pathways to achieve this.
That’s why this platform is fundamental. It’s an exciting project which will light a clear and consistent path to net zero, enabling the UK to becoming a powerhouse for low-carbon infrastructure, technology, goods and services.
– Allen Creedy, Ethical Partnership Director, DEFRA Policy Unit and Vice Chair EPU UK Policy Committee.
Of those surveyed for the report, 71% couldn’t recommend a single web source for decarbonisation help, a third weren’t familiar with the phrase net zero, 40% said money blocked them taking action, but 57% placed the perceived importance of their environment impact in the top two scores.
As such, it calls for an advice service tailored for the specific needs of SMEs, which represent over 99% of business in the UK.
In the run up to the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow this November, the Zero Carbon Business Partnership is developing an information service that provides SMEs with the tools needed to begin cutting carbon and to resolve the issues highlighted in the report.
The provision will ensure SMEs are provided with clear and easy to follow advice and support on how to get started and ahead of the targets.
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