15 August 2023 – On Monday the UK Government has launched the UK Business Climate Hub to support small businesses to cut their carbon emissions and save money on their energy bills.
Since 2019, the UK is bound by law to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. According to research, business and industry are responsible for 25% of the UK’s carbon emissions.
So unless the 5.5 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) cut their emissions, the UK will find it difficult to reach its net-zero target. But research has shown that only 10% of small businesses understand what this target means for them.
With the launch of the UK Business Climate Hub, the Government wants to help SMEs to go green by providing information and giving practical advice.
14% Of Small Businesses Don’t Know Anything About Net-Zero Targets
The survey results show that many SMEs struggle to understand what the climate targets mean for them. Only 8% of respondents said they comprehensively understood what the net-zero target means for their business.
14% said they had no knowledge at all about the climate targets. Smaller businesses with less than 50 staff are less aware of the targets than larger businesses.
According to the survey results, only 19% of smaller firms have a plan to reach the net-zero target. In comparison, 36% of larger companies said they have one.
60% of all respondents to the survey said that they don’t intend to reach net-zero, thought it wasn’t possible for their business or didn’t know what they would have to do.
This shows that many UK businesses feel lost and left alone with the task of cutting their carbon emissions and need support.
All the businesses we spoke to understand the devastating impact climate change is having on our planet, and that sitting this out is not an option. But many smaller firms feel lost in a fog of conflicting information and are reluctant to invest in new technologies when they fear betting on the wrong horse. Mixed messages from government on the importance of net zero are only compounding the problem, as well as a ‘stick’ heavy approach to enforcing change.Shevaun Haviland, Director-General of the British Chambers of Commerce
There is also concern among businesses that changing to green technologies would decrease productivity, with 21% of surveyed companies saying so. Only 10% said they believed it would boost productivity.
The BCC’s survey report did also highlight some of the barriers small businesses face when it comes to cutting their carbon emissions. For example, some businesses have said that supply chain problems stop them from reducing their carbon emissions.
Others have said that too few electric vehicle (EV) charging points stop them from switching to an EV. Some said that their landlords refuse to permit them to install solar panels.
The BCC called on the Government to provide SMEs with clear information and advice on how they can reduce their carbon footprint. Support and incentives should also be offered where possible.
UK Business Climate Hub As One-Stop Shop For Information And Support
To combat the lack of information and advice that keeps many businesses from taking action, the Government has launched the UK Business Climate Hub on Monday.
The Government points to research that has shown that 90% of SMEs are keen to reduce their carbon footprint, but are not sure how to.
More and more businesses are recognising the business benefits of reaching net-zero and we’re determined to empower them to do so. The new UK Business Climate Hub is a one-stop-shop for businesses to find practical advice to reduce their carbon footprint and save on their energy bills.Graham Stuart, Minister of State for Energy Security and Net-Zero
The new website aims at providing small businesses with practical advice on how to cut emissions and save on energy bills. The hub offers a free carbon calculator as well as tools that can help to measure, track and report on carbon emissions.
The website also provides practical advice on various topics. This includes information about finding green suppliers, reducing emissions from freight and logistics, and cost-effective installation of EV charging points and solar panels.
The hub also provides a host of other information, such as getting business grants, green loans and financing to retrofit energy-saving technology. Or where to buy credible carbon offsets or get low-carbon product labels and certifications from.
The UK Business Climate Hub is supported by business lobbying groups such as the Federation of Small Businesses, the BCC and Confederation of British Industry (CBI). The ministers on the new Net Zero Council have also endorsed this new information hub.
The Government hopes that with this new hub the UK’s SMEs won’t just be able to transition to net-zero, but thrive while doing so.