Smaller businesses are responsible for around half of the UK’s business-produced emissions, according to new research by the British Business Bank.
Despite climate commitments like net zero pledges becoming more prevalent among businesses as the government embarks on its ‘green revolution’, only around half of smaller firms have decarbonisation or cutting their environmental impact as a near-term priority.
More than a third of businesses (35 per cent) said that this is due to the costs associated with the net zero transition, with larger firms having access to a heftier pot of capital to dip into for the cause.
Bank CEO Catherine Lewis La Torre explained: “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.
“More than half of smaller businesses say they’re not ready to prioritise decarbonisation, so clearly more needs to be done.”
Just 11 per cent of companies in the UK, the equivalent of around 700,000 firms, have accessed finance support for their net zero goals externally, but 22 per cent added that they are looking to use outside capital for their climate pledges over the next five years.
The majority of businesses (76 per cent) are yet to implement comprehensive decarbonisation strategies, the Bank estimated.
While just three per cent of the 1,200 businesses surveyed admitted they have measured their carbon footprint in the past five years, which has led them to set themselves an emissions cap or reduction target.
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.”
The research comes on the back of the government’s highly anticipated net zero strategy, published this week.
“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,” Scully added.
CEO of Tech Nation, Gerard Grech said: “Decarbonising our economies to net-zero will undoubtedly involve a mindset change, habit change and technologies – some not yet invented – to scale. So it’s great to see this report launch by the British Business Bank shedding light on this.”