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Small businesses prioritise climate change, yet face barriers

A recent survey conducted indicates a growing emphasis on reducing greenhouse gas emissions among small and medium-sized enterprises in 2023

In recent findings, small businesses are increasingly prioritising action on climate change, according to a survey conducted by the SME Climate Hub.

The survey, spanning 44 countries and 25 sectors, revealed a notable uptick in the importance placed on reducing greenhouse gas emissions among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 2023.

Despite this growing emphasis, the study also highlighted persistent obstacles hindering climate action within SMEs.

Regulatory pressures and evolving customer expectations are driving SMEs to elevate climate action as a priority.

The survey noted that 44% of respondents reported a heightened focus on reducing emissions over the past year, with an additional 53% maintaining a consistent level of prioritisation in this area.

However, despite these intentions, SMEs continue to encounter barriers that impede their ability to effectively address climate change.

Among the key challenges cited by surveyed SMEs are a lack of supportive policies or government-backed incentives, identified by 52% of respondents and insufficient funding, also reported by 52% of those polled.

Additionally, nearly 39% of respondents highlighted a dearth of data on current emissions as a significant barrier.

Other obstacles include time constraints, noted by 29% of respondents, and perceived deficiencies in skills and knowledge, cited by an equal proportion of SMEs.

María Mendiluce, Chief Executive Officer, We Mean Business Coalition, Co-Founder of the SME Climate Hub, said: “In order to transition to a clean and just economy, we cannot leave behind small businesses and the communities they serve.

“Small businesses are the nimble changemakers we need to push climate action forward, but we need an all-of-society approach that enables this action.

“Support mechanisms from governments and incentivising programmes from partners such as financial institutions and corporate supply chain leaders are essential to enable small businesses to take more comprehensive action.”

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