COP26 has begun. For the next couple of weeks, you’ll be hearing a lot about businesses’ responsibilities in tackling the climate crisis. The business sector contributes a large proportion of the UK’s carbon emissions so if companies make changes, it’ll have a huge impact.
But that’s up to the big businesses, right?
Wrong. 99.9% of businesses in the UK are SMEs, so the SME community has a big role to play. They need to be embedding positive climate action into their operations and have a plan to get to net zero by the government’s target of 2050.
So how can SMEs take action?
You’re probably hearing a lot at the moment about what businesses should be doing to play their part in reducing climate change. And we know from working with SMEs that this can feel overwhelming – what if you don’t have a dedicated team and loads of money to get your business to net zero?
Don’t worry, you can still get to net zero. In fact, some of the small businesses who did the pilot of our course, Climate for SMEs: 4 Steps to Action, said that being smaller made it easier to get started. It’s not such a challenge to get all the data you need to measure your carbon footprint, for example, and you’ll be closer to the senior team that can sign off decisions.
We’ve developed a climate action toolkit, designed especially for SMEs and made in collaboration with sustainability experts from a variety of sectors. It’s free to download and it breaks up your journey to making a net zero plan into four modules, so you can take it step by step.
To get you started today, here are eight actions we talk about in the toolkit that you can take to reduce your company’s carbon emissions. These are short-term, quick wins that you can start straight away:
- Set your heating to 21°C
- Turn off any heating in unused spaces
- Bleed your radiators
- Make sure natural light isn’t being blocked
- Talk to employees about energy and water saving activities in your workplace and in their homes
- Update your lighting to energy efficient LED lighting
- Buy sustainable goods
- Remove personal bins and replace with recycling stations
The long-term action is all about getting your business to net zero and making a clear plan that you can follow to get there. If you follow our climate action toolkit, you’ll look at understanding the basics around climate change and net zero, building the business case for net zero, measuring your carbon footprint, and you’ll finish by creating a net zero action plan.
If you’re an SME based or operating in the City of London, you can also sign up to our free climate action course, Climate for SMEs: 4 Steps to Action. The course starts in January 2022 and through it, you’ll learn from the experts with other SMEs at a similar point in their net zero journey.
And if your business is based elsewhere in the UK, you can sign up for our Foundations for Responsible Business programme. This covers all areas of responsible business but has a strong focus on sustainability, so you’ll get the chance to go to workshops and speak 1:1 to experts in sustainability.
Get in touch with us at Heart of the City if you want to find out more about how we can help you.