Person using a calculator with an image of a green lightbulb

Government platform offers British businesses decarbonisation advice

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The UK has launched a new Business Climate Hub to help 5.5 million businesses measure, track and report on their emissions and reduce their energy bills.

The initiative offers guidance on how to cut costs and reduce carbon emissions for the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 

The platform provides a complimentary carbon calculator and lists ways to reduce a company’s environmental impact, including procuring items from eco-friendly suppliers, cutting freight emissions and implementing cost-efficient strategies for installing solar panels and electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

SMEs currently account for 99 per cent of all UK private businesses. According to the Carbon Trust, the average SME generates around 15 tonnes of CO2 annually, yet research from Lloyds Bank has found that over three-quarters (77 per cent) of them do not have a business strategy to reduce their carbon footprint in the next three years.

“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,” said Graham Stuart, minister for energy security and net zero. 

“Whether it’s fitting a low-carbon heat pump, generating energy with solar panels or reducing the emissions from shipping goods, the new support will ensure businesses can drive towards net zero.”

The hub also stresses how implementing some of these green practices could also help 5.5 million SMEs reduce costs. For example, switching to EVs could lower servicing and maintenance costs by around 40 per cent compared with petrol or diesel cars, and using LED bulbs can shave up to 40 per cent off bills, the site says. 

The government also stressed that 85 per cent of consumers are more likely to buy from a business with a reputation for sustainability. 

Martin McTague, national chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “In addition to helping small firms become more energy and resource efficient, the hub also has the opportunity to empower small firms to take ambitious steps towards net zero, ultimately ensuring that they also benefit from the economic opportunities created in a net zero economy.”

Sustainability strategist Laimonas Noreika, CEO of HeavyFinance, added: “This hub will play a crucial role in enabling Britain’s businesses to take meaningful action against the climate change emergency.

“Far too many SMEs are keen to go green but lack the practical advice and financial support to make it happen. From office blocks to farmyards, company owners across all industries are in urgent need of guidance to cut carbon emissions and build a cleaner, greener business.” 

Steven Mooney, CEO of FundMyPitch, added: “One of the biggest barriers to SMEs cutting emissions is cost, with many struggling to find a credible strategy to go green without breaking the bank. The vast majority of company owners will always go the extra mile to build responsible, environmentally friendly businesses, but they also need access to finance and support to turn their dreams into reality.”

In 2020 the UK was estimated to already have over 400,000 jobs in low carbon businesses and their supply chains across the country, with a turnover of £41.6bn. 

However, a recent report by consultants Bain & Company found that almost two-thirds of carbon emissions from UK corporations were not covered by decarbonisation targets.

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