Three…Two…One…Net Zero! How does your business measure up?

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What is Net Zero? How can small businesses prepare? What resources are available and where can you find them? We’ve put together a quick guide to help small businesses…

What is Net Zero?

Net zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. We reach net zero when the amount we add is no more than the amount taken away.

On 12 June 2019, the Government amended the Climate Change Act to introduce a target for at least a 100% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.  

How do you measure up?

According to the findings of a survey conducted by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), only 11% of UK businesses are measuring their carbon footprint.

Only 13% of businesses have set targets to reduce their emissions, according to the study, down from 21% before the pandemic in February 2020.

The findings also reveal that 22% of businesses are unsure what the term “net zero” means, and nearly a third have yet to seek advice or information to help them develop a net zero roadmap or improve their environmental sustainability.

Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the BCC, said: ‘This research is a real eye-opener and shows just how big a challenge the UK’s net zero target is. The dual impacts of the pandemic and Brexit have been a huge body blow to many businesses, so it’s unsurprising that targeting emissions has taken a back seat.

Do small businesses need to do anything?

The United Kingdom made a legally binding commitment in 2019 to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The science is clear: the next decade is critical for climate action, and with growing public concern and increased scrutiny from government and investors, now is the time for small businesses like yours to step up their efforts to help the UK achieve its ambitious goal.

Net Zero for small businesses

Your commitment could make a real difference – to the planet, to your customers, and to your operating costs – no matter how small your business or what industry you’re in! Carbon emissions are produced by even the smallest businesses, whether through their buildings, vehicles, or supply chains.

Resources for Small Businesses

  • The Government have launched the Together for our Planet ‘Business Climate Leaders’ campaign, a new drive to encourage small and micro businesses to commit to cutting their emissions in half by 2030 and to reach net zero by 2050 or sooner through the new UK Business Climate Hub.
  • The BCC has also released a number of tools to help small businesses create an action plan on their website including a set of helpful calculators and webinars.
  • O2 have a series of podcasts regarding technology and how businesses can prepare for net zero – listen to the latest episodes visiting their website
  • The SME Climate Hub provides a one-stop-shop for SMEs to commit to climate action and access tools, incentives and other resources designed to make it easier than ever for small and medium-sized businesses to cut carbon emissions, bring innovative green solutions to market and build business resilience. To visit the hub click here

Small businesses can use the links above to find useful tools, resources, and advice to help them understand their emissions and develop a plan to address them, as well as get ideas for the next steps.

While it may feel that the deadline for net zero is many years away, it is clear that actions taken by small and medium-sized companies are an essential part of accelerating the transition to a net-zero emissions global economy.