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76% of businesses are yet to implement decarbonisation strategies

Smaller businesses are responsible for around half of all UK greenhouse gas emissions from businesses, according to a new report published by the British Business Bank. 

The report highlights the potential collective influence of smaller businesses to the wider net-zero objectives if they make changes to reduce their emissions.

The report, which includes data from a nationally representative survey of 1,200 smaller businesses, found that three in four businesses (76%) are yet to implement comprehensive decarbonisation strategies, capabilities and actions. 

The businesses surveyed identified more than twenty barriers preventing them from taking action on net-zero.

More than a third (35%) cited costs as a barrier, particularly upfront capital costs (21%), this was followed by feasibility (32%), such as lack of control due to tenancy agreements or lack of appropriate technology.

Over one in ten (12%) said that lack of information was preventing them from taking action.

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Catherine Lewis La Torre, CEO, British Business Bank said: ‘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.

‘More than half of smaller businesses say they’re not ready to prioritise decarbonisation, so clearly more needs to be done.

‘The Bank continues to strive to bridge the knowledge gap and work with its partners to improve smaller businesses’ access to the right finance to help them transition to net zero. We hope this report encourages business owners to review their business model, consider where changes can be made and to make the necessary investments to secure a sustainable future for their businesses.’

In related news, a climate action course is now available to help small businesses to get to net-zero. 

Photo by Artem Gavrysh

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