Small businesses encouraged to 'lead the charge to net zero'

Small businesses encouraged to 'lead the charge to net zero'
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Tue 1st Jun 2021

A new government campaign is calling on small and micro businesses to reduce their carbon emissions and do their bit to help the UK reach net zero by 2050.

The Together for our Planet Business Climate Leaders initiative is urging entrepreneurs to pledge to cut emissions in half by 2030. They can make the commitment on the new UK Business Climate Hub website which also has tools, resources and advice to help.

Environmentally friendly actions business owners could take include:

  • Switch to LED bulbs

  • Insulate your buildings

  • Minimise the waste from your products and packaging

  • Introduce a cycle to work scheme

  • Adjust heating and cooling system timings, temperatures and rooms

  • Install a smart meter

  • Encourage your suppliers to take action

  • Electrify your vehicle fleet

  • Install your own renewable electricity or heating

  • Offset the carbon you can't reduce

As the government builds up to the UN Climate Summit COP26 in Glasgow this November, it says those who make a net zero commitment will be recognised by the United Nations Race to Zero campaign and will become "climate leaders".

The campaign is part of the wider Together For Our Planet message which is encouraging everyone in society to get involved.

Once companies have made the commitment, they can display the Together For Our Planet brand in store, online and in promotional materials to show customers that they have joined the global fight against climate change.

Prime minister Boris Johnson said:

"Every step that a small business takes on their journey to net zero adds up - not only in protecting the health of the planet but also in future-proofing their business and encouraging new investment, new customers and new opportunities for growth.

"We are providing the support and advice small businesses need to join us and become leaders in the fight against climate change."

Business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng added:

"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and as we transition to a green future, they will also the backbone of the UK tackling climate change.

"There are huge opportunities for a small business to go green - not only playing their part in saving the planet from climate change but helping grow their business and ensuring it is fit for the future.

"Simple changes could differentiate a business from the competition, attract new customers and investment and save them money on their running costs. That is why I am urging the nation's small businesses to sign up to become business climate leaders and lead the charge in protecting the future of our planet."

The campaign was launched with an event at 10 Downing Street where the prime minister met business owners who have already made a net zero commitment. They included:

  • Gin distillery Shed 1 Gin uses recycled, recyclable and compostable packaging and recycles water used during the gin distilling process, saving thousands of litres of water.

  • Family-run wedding venue Hayne House offers a sustainable option for weddings and receptions. It believes it will have reduced emissions by 50% by the end of next year. The business has already removed all single-use plastic, started replacing windows with ones that are more energy efficient and switched to a renewable energy supplier, installing a rainwater harvesting system to water the garden and reviewing procurement to include local and sustainable suppliers among others. The company plans to install a heat pump and electric charge points for vehicles, as well as increasing its solar energy production to power the whole site.

  • Healthy snack company Healthy Nibbles last year changed its packaging to be plastic-free and it is now produced using 100% recycled materials, which are also recyclable. The company uses biodegradable labelling and tape, as well as assesses suppliers' environmental and sustainable impact.

  • "Sofa in a box" company Snug aims to become carbon neutral by 2025. Creating sofas that can be delivered and assembled quickly without the use of tools, Snug uses wood taken from forests grown by its manufacturers and delivers it sofas in 100% recyclable boxes. The business has partnered with the Eden Reforestation Project which works with communities around the world to educate and employ local people to produce, plant, protect and conserve native species in deforested areas. Snug has donated more than 100,000 trees to date and is working towards an 'eco collection' and plans to be the first sofa company in the world with a carbon negative product.

  • Energy efficiency specialists SURE Solutions offers solutions to businesses using industrial refrigeration and has pledged to become net zero by 2025. The company has installed 70 solar panels on the roof of its offices and this year plans to install a hot water heat pump and electric vehicle charge points. This is on top of making sure it is recycling waste and replacing its vehicles with either electric or hybrid equivalents. The business also has plans to be carbon neutral through carbon offsetting by the end of the year through tree planting or similar.

What are you doing to cut your business' carbon emissions? Let us know by emailing us or sending us a tweet.

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance content creator and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I have 18 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from billionaires like Sir Richard Branson to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community and have strong connections to major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 50 events; from intimate meet-ups to conferences with an audience of hundreds including events for international brands like Facebook and Xero. I'm also a big fan of podcasts having hosted Enterprise Nation's Small Business Sessions as well as lots of online events including Facebook Live interviews, webinars and three live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography. I'm here to help. I'm volunteering free advice calls of up to an hour as part of the Recovery Advice for Business scheme, over the next 6 months. Please get in touch to see how I can help your business. 

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