SMEs ‘are to blame for nearly half of all UK firms’ emissions’

Just 3% of smaller businesses admit that they have measured their carbon footprint in the past five years, new research finds

Big Zero Report 2022

Smaller businesses are responsible for nearly 50% of all greenhouse gas emissions emitted by all UK businesses.

That’s according to new research by the British Business Bank which estimates that smaller businesses account for almost a third of all current UK emissions.

The survey of 1,200 businesses targeting small and medium-sized businesses, defined as businesses having 0 to 249 employees suggests more than three-in-four businesses are yet to implement comprehensive decarbonisation programme.

The research also found that just 3% of smaller businesses surveyed say they have measured their carbon footprint in the past five years and subsequently set an emissions reduction target.

Catherine Lewis La Torre, Chief Executive Officer of British Business Bank, commented: “Smaller businesses will generally have lower individual carbon footprints than their larger counterparts, but by broadening their vision and committing to action they can collectively produce a significant overall impact.

“Action to mitigate the impacts of climate change is at a tipping point, and it is crucial for smaller business owners to feel empowered, informed and supported in making the relevant steps to decarbonising their business if the UK is going to meet its wider net zero objectives by 2050.”

Small Business Minister Paul Scully said: “Small businesses need to be front and centre in our national effort to reduce emissions, which is why we’re working closely with the government’s British Business Bank to bake our top priority of reducing carbon emissions into the business finance pie.

“We launched our ground-breaking Net Zero Strategy this week and in the run-up to COP26 in Glasgow next month, we are pulling every lever we can to get every part of the UK’s business community on board with the vital need to reduce emissions and build back greener.”

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