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Businesses need more help to reach net-zero, report says

The majority of small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) do not know how to cut their emissions or where to start, according to a report conducted by the Zero Carbon Business Partnership coalition.

SMBs make up more than 99% of UK businesses and contribute to over half of the carbon emissions from businesses.

However, according to a survey conducted on 254 SMBs, one-third of businesses were not familiar with the phrase ‘net zero’.

A further 71% could not recommend a single web source for help on decarbonisation and 40% said money was the main thing preventing action.

Based on these findings, the coalition is calling for more advice and targeted action towards SMBs.

The report highlights seven requirements that are needed to help SMBs reach net-zero:

  1. Clear information – simplified language is needed to avoid confusion.
  2. Staying in business – SMBs know they need to take action to decarbonise but need help doing so while remaining financially viable
  3. Financial and digital literacy support – financial skills and digital literacy is essential in achieving net-zero as those who are making faster progress have these.
  4. Trust and transparency – trade bodies and business groups are a source of trust for SMBs rather than institutions and official narratives
  5. Peer-to-peer relationships – SMBs need examples of successful carbon reduction strategies from other businesses. Peer support, particularly between local businesses, will create feelings of trust, capacity, and confidence.
  6. Meeting the challenge of Covid-19 – for the time being, SMBs have got a lot to think about around keeping their business alive during a pandemic. Guidance needs to emphasise that green business policies will meet the challenge of Covid-19.

Patrick Erwin, Northern Powergrid’s policy and markets director said: ‘Decarbonisation requires significant action from every corner of our society.

‘We’re proud to be part of the Zero Carbon Business Partnership so we can help SMEs – which are crucial to the UK’s economy – get the advice and support they need to contribute to net-zero and benefit from a green recovery.’

For more information, visit the Northern Power Grid website. 

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