Small businesses are being left behind in the quest for Net Zero by 2050

by | Oct 20, 2021

Small businesses are being left behind in the quest for Net Zero by 2050

SME’s Lagging On Net Zero Goal.

As the government pushes to meet its 2050 Net Zero emissions target, it has surfaced that there is still a greater challenge to push smaller companies to join the movement and cut their carbon footprint.


Only around half of smaller firms have decarbonisation or cutting their environmental impact as a near-term priority. Many small businesses argue that the government does not recognise the costs associated with the Net Zero transition.


Research from the British Business Bank based on an analysis of 1,200 companies found that three in four small business were yet to introduce any “comprehensive, strategies, capabilities and actions” to cut their emissions. Further research suggested that half of the sample were “reactive or simply disengaged” from the government’s green revolution.


Surprisingly only 1 in 20 measured their carbon footprint over the past five years and setting an emission reducing target or strategy as a result.


Bank CEO Catherine Lewis La Torre explained: “Smaller businesses will generally have lower individual carbon footprints than their larger counterparts, but by broadening their vision and committing to action they can collectively produce a significant overall impact.

More support needed for our small businesses.

SME’S have explained that more needs to be done to help them meet the 2050 goal. Smaller companies are being left behind in the revolution whilst larger firms have access to a heftier and more tangible pot of capital to fund the transition.


Further research from the Bank has shown that most companies have implemented inexpensive changes where necessary like installing smart meters and being more mindful about recycling.  However, the bank described these steps as low effort and financially motivated rather than environmental.


A recent report from NatWest argued that small and medium-sized companies had the potential to meet half of the UK’s decarbonisation goal, “if they receive the right support through funding, knowledge and training”.


Small business minister Paul Scully added, “Small businesses need to be front and centre in our national effort to reduce emissions, which is why we’re working closely with the government’s British Business Bank to bake our top priority of reducing carbon emissions into the business finance pie.


    Urgent action needs to be taken to engage small businesses, through education and financial incentives so that they can lead and grow in the green revolution towards a Net Zero future.


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