In 2021 the UK Government called on “all small businesses to lead the charge to net zero” through the launch of its Together for our Planet Business Climate Leaders campaign. The campaign asked small businesses to pledge to cut their emissions in half by 2030 and to net zero by 20250. The UK Business Climate Hub is a resource to help small businesses reach these targets by providing advice, resources and toolkits to support businesses as they start their journey to net zero.
👉 In this article we’ll explore the UK Business Climate Hub in more detail, and look at the different ways it can help businesses to reduce their emissions.
Firstly, what is the UK Business Climate Hub?
The UK’s Together for our Planet Business campaign recognised that “we cannot afford to wait to act against the threat of climate change. We must work together to protect our planet and people and ensure a green, more resilient future”.
Under the banner of this campaign, the UK Government called on small businesses across the UK to take steps to half their greenhouse gas emissions by 20320, and net-zero emissions (compared to 1990 levels) by 2050. But while most businesses will understand why it’s important to reduce their carbon footprint, it’s not always clear what exactly they need to do to achieve this. This is where the UK Business Climate Hub comes into play.
The UK Business Climate Hub is the UK iteration of the SME Climate Hub. It’s a landing page that allows the UK Government to engage with and support UK SMEs as they look to reduce their emissions. A one-stop-shop with tools, resources and information to help SMEs take action. Aimed at a UK audience, it shares inspiring stories of other SMEs who have already signed up to the commitment and who have made progress in cutting down their carbon emissions.
👉 The UK Business Climate Hub aims to help UK businesses of under 250 employees to future proof their business, build resilience in their supply chains, and align with ever changing governmental policies, while also accelerating their business growth. Alongside its own resources and tools, the UK Business Climate Hub links businesses up to the SME Climate Hub tools library, as well as the SME Climate commitment.
What is the SME Climate Commitment?
In recognition of the fact that “climate change poses a threat to the economy, nature and society at large” the SME Climate Commitment asks companies to pledge to:
Halve greenhouse gas emissions before 2030
Achieve net zero emissions before 2050
Disclose their progress on a yearly basis
What happens once a business commits?
After filling out the online forms and making the SME Climate Commitment, the UK Business Climate Hub will get in touch. As a first step they will share tools and information so that businesses can better understand and evaluate their carbon emissions. Then, the next step is to determine how to tackle these emissions, and how to communicate them with customers and the community.
The UK Business Hub will keep in touch and continue to share solutions, support and incentives to help small UK businesses reach their targets.
Why should a business sign up?
The UK is changing and there’s no way around it. From regulations that mean you won’t be able to buy new petrol or diesel cars from 2030, to new rules when it comes to building or renovating buildings. The regulatory landscape regarding climate change is constantly changing which means that it can be a bit of a moving target and tricky to understand.
Businesses who sign the UK Business Hub’s commitment will be better placed to deal with these changes. They will receive regular updates that will help them to stay on top of developments, which means that they can better understand and prepare for any changes that might affect their business.
Cutting back on carbon emissions means that businesses will also make savings on their utility bills, so any effort to reduce emissions will result in direct savings to their business. Not only this, but businesses who embrace green practices and commit to emissions reductions will benefit from a competitive advantage. Savvy consumers are now actively looking to buy or engage with businesses who have an environmental conscience.
Businesses who sign up to the commitment will be able to display the Business Climate Hub’s logo, which will alert customers to the fact that the business has committed to reducing their emissions.
Being part of the solution
Even though most of us are aware of the threat that greenhouse gas emissions present to our climate, and most of us truly want to help, it’s often difficult to know where to start. By signing up to the commitment businesses will receive information and support to get them started on their journey.
What steps does the Business Climate Hub suggest?
The UK Business Climate Hub provides sector specific steps that have been designed by industry experts to help businesses cut down on emissions, as well as more general advice. To find out more about the industry specific steps, we suggest that you take a look at UK Business Climate Hub’s website directly. We’ll give an overview of the more general steps that SMEs can take below:
Cycle to work scheme - an employee’s commute to and from work can represent a significant amount of a business's carbon footprint, so simple changes to their commute can have a big impact. Cycle to work schemes are employee benefit schemes that allow employees to hire bikes in return for a deduction from their earnings (this is called salary sacrifice). Schemes can benefit from tax exemptions.
Building insulation - non-domestic buildings are responsible for as much as 9% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions in any given year. Businesses can cut down on these emissions (and save on utility bills) by investing in better insulation and building materials.
Minimising packaging waste - the UK Business Hub provides resources and tips on how businesses can cut down on waste from products and packaging, something that will not only help the environment, but also a businesses bottom line.
LED bulbs - the UK Business Climate Hub lists the simple action of switching to LED bulbs as an easy and immediate step that businesses can take to help cut down on emissions - in fact, this simple action can deliver cost savings of up to a whopping 80% for a business!
Heating and room temperatures - other simple and immediate actions that businesses can take include turning the heating down, or changing the AC so that it kicks in at a slightly higher temperature. Even a 1 degree difference can make a huge difference to emissions.
Smart meter installation - smart meters are installed by energy suppliers at no extra cost, and allow a business to take control of their energy usage and cost.
Engage with suppliers - reaching net-zero requires the involvement of every individual, so it makes sense for businesses to engage with their supplier to talk about how they too can cut down on emissions.
Swap to electric vehicles - not only are electric vehicles better for the environment, but they can also help save businesses money in the long run. The Workplace Charging Scheme is a voucher based scheme that helps with the up-front costs of the purchase and installation of an electric vehicle charge point. Additionally, the Plug-In Grant offers discounts on new low-emissions vehicles.
Renewable energy heating - gas boilers are bad news for the environment, and there are much better alternatives, for example heat pumps, or solar thermal. Businesses could even go one step further by installing their own renewable energy source, like solar panels, or a wind turbine. Admittedly this type of action has an upfront cost to businesses, but analysis shows that businesses who install their own renewable power source recoup their costs in 1 to 10 years!
In addition to these tips and the resources and toolkits found on the website, a business who commits to the SME Climate Commitment will also be given free access to an online course called ‘Climate Fit’. It aims to help businesses who consider themselves to be complete beginners when it comes to reducing their carbon emissions. The course is made up of seven different sections and provides a step by step guide for businesses to follow. It also contains lots of case studies so that businesses can see how their actions will benefit not only the environment and local community, but also their bottom line through cost savings.
SME Climate Hub resources
In addition to all the resources found on the UK Business Climate Hub, the website also links through to the SME Climate Hub which has some great tools that enable SMEs to take concrete steps towards climate action. For example, it includes guidance on:
Committing and setting a target - the commitment comes through the signature of the SME Climate Commitment, but the SME Climate Hub provides guidelines on how to set a climate strategy and take action in The 1.5° Business Playbook.
Measuring and reporting emissions - the SME Climate Hub provides resources to help SMEs get started in the measurement of their emissions. As per the SME Climate Commitment, businesses will also be required to report on progress as they work to cut down on their carbon footprint, the SME Climate Hub provides information on the reporting process, and step by step guidance on how to provide this report.
Business strategy - SME Climate Hub resources provide guidance for businesses on how to incorporate climate strategy into their business strategy, as well as information on climate change risks and opportunities.
Reducing emissions - the SME Climate Hub provides resources to help businesses set out a plan of action, including actions that businesses can start today as well as more long term projects to increase energy efficiency.
Supplier emissions - value chain emissions include emissions from the businesses supply chain. In fact, this normally represents the largest portion of a company's total carbon emissions. The SME Climate Hub provides advice on how to measure, report and reduce these emissions.
Climate action in society - businesses who sign up to the SME Climate Commitment will become climate leaders in their communities, and will also, in effect, be influencing and accelerating climate change in their local communities. The SME Climate Hub shares resources and advice on how businesses can go one step further by encouraging individual employee action, supporting offsetting projects and continuing the conversation with other businesses.
Next steps 🦶
Businesses, with less than 250 employees who are interested in reducing their own carbon footprint and turning their business green, should head to the UK Business Climate Hub where they can find a variety of information, tools and resources to get them started on their journey.
Once ready they can sign up to the SME Climate Commitment, and join businesses across the UK and the world as they start their net zero journey.
What about Greenly?
At Greenly we can help you to assess your company’s carbon footprint, and then give you the tools you need to cut down on emissions. Why not request a free demo with one of our experts - no obligation or commitment required.
If reading this article has inspired you to consider your company’s own carbon footprint, Greenly can help. Learn more about Greenly’s carbon management platform here.
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