The Government has introduced a new sustainability hub designed to assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK in reducing energy expenses and adopting decarbonisation measures.
Known as the UK Business Climate Hub, this initiative was collaboratively developed by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) along with notable organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the National Grid, and NatWest. Its primary goal is to extend support to the approximately 5.5 million SMEs operating in the United Kingdom.
The hub serves as a comprehensive resource offering guidance on cost-effective climate-conscious initiatives, credible carbon credits, business grants, eco-friendly loans, sustainability training, waste reduction strategies, and the identification of environmentally conscious suppliers.
Additionally, it features a suite of useful tools including a complimentary carbon calculator designed to assist enterprises in quantifying, monitoring, and reporting their emissions. This effort is particularly significant as SMEs confront notable hurdles in aligning with net zero targets due to their limited resources and comparatively lower capital investments compared to larger corporations.
According to the FSB’s data, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) constitute a significant 99.2% of the entirety of businesses in the UK. These enterprises also contribute to three-fifths of the employment landscape and approximately half of the total turnover within the UK’s private sector. This highlights their pivotal role in driving the economy towards achieving net-zero. In a study conducted by Sage and International Chamber of Commerce, it was revealed that a substantial 90% of SMEs express a desire to address the issue of climate change. However, they encounter challenges in finding the appropriate methods to take effective steps for reducing their carbon footprint.
The UK Business Climate Hub encourages them to join the SME Climate Commitment – a pledge to halve greenhouse gas emissions before 2030, achieve net zero emissions before 2050 and disclose progress on a yearly basis.
Energy minister Graham Stuart said: “More and more businesses are recognising the business benefits of reaching Net Zero and we’re determined to empower them to do so. 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. 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.”
Coinciding with this development, the Net Zero council, which is composed of CEOs representing prominent companies such as Co-op, HSBC, Siemens, and Cemex, has unveiled a new business roadmap framework on Monday to help businesses to work with others in their sector to create tailored action plans for their own industry to decarbonise.
Shirine Khoury-Haq, co-chair of the council, and chief executive of the Co-op Group, commented: “None of us will get to net zero without all of us getting to net zero, so ensuring that every business and every sector has a clear plan for delivering this non-negotiable target is key. I hope the UK Business Climate Hub will be a valuable tool for business leaders looking for guidance and support in this vital endeavour.”