With COP26 taking place in the UK in November 2021, the focus on our commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is centre stage. The Race to Zero campaign is highlighting the urgency for climate action and increasing the awareness of the part we can all play to reach this goal.
What is net zero?
On 12 June 2019, the Government amended the Climate Change Act to introduce a target for at least a 100% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.
Confused by carbon jargon? From carbon neutrality to net zero, learn what the sustainability buzzwords mean for your small business.
Why does it matter for small businesses?
So, whilst tackling climate change is a big issue, here is why the UK’s move towards net zero and sustainability matters to your small business.
Legislation is changing
On 20 April 2021, the Government announced the sixth Carbon Budget, setting into law the climate change target to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels.
Legislation for larger businesses will result in pressure on smaller suppliers to be greener and more sustainable, in order to improve their own green credentials and meet targets. Policy is changing at a rapid pace and will eventually reach small businesses – after all, small businesses make up 99.3% of the UK’s business population. Therefore, it’s a good idea to stay ahead and start now. Putting a plan in place now will help you to be more prepared.
However, the UK Government’s ambition for net zero can’t be realised without an empowered and supported small business community, says the Federation of Small Businesses.
Stay ahead of eco-conscious consumer trends
Sustainability can give small businesses a competitive edge as consumers begin to demand products that are cleaner, greener and more eco-friendly. In the last twelve months, a survey by Deloitte found that 61% of consumers have limited their use of single-use plastic, 45% have bought more locally produced goods and 34% chose brands that have environmentally sustainable practices and values. A company with a strong environmental commitment that can demonstrate its progress has the power to attract conscious consumers as well as engage with new customers via social media. Making sustainable changes brings with it market access and the opportunity to tap into a new market.
The agility of small businesses means this increase in demand allows smaller suppliers to take a larger market share and react faster to customer demand than larger organisations with complicated supply chains. And it’s not just consumers who are interested in sustainability – suppliers and employees are increasingly looking to work with businesses who are making changes and adapting in the right direction.
Protect your bottom line
As the UK approaches 2050, prices for energy obtained from fossil fuels will continue to rise. Coupled with carbon taxes, this will eat into your bottom line. Acting now and using your resources more efficiently may help you to minimise penalties later down the line.
Ready to get started with eco-switches in your business, but don’t know where to begin? Check out our guide to five simple ways you can make your business more sustainable.