The UK’s net-zero carbon goal will only be achieved if SMEs get on board. The year 2050 may seem like a long way off, but the journey to net-zero can have significant benefits if SMEs start taking action and don’t fall behind. SMEs can lead the fight against climate change, they have the knowledge and tools to start their transition to net-zero.
Although for many SMEs starting their net-zero journey may seem daunting, there are some practical and easy to implement measures businesses can take now.
The first step any business can take is to start measuring current emissions. Carbon footprints are measured in categories called “scopes”. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol splits greenhouse gas emissions into three categories:
Scope 1: Direct emissions from facilities or equipment your business owns or controls
Scope 2: Indirect emissions from the energy you buy from suppliers
Scope 3: Indirect emissions from your company’s supply chain
Measuring scope 1 and scope 2 emissions should be relatively easy for most businesses if they gather all fuel expenses and utility bills. Scope 3 emissions are much more difficult to calculate. They are also known as “value chain emissions” because they are not directly generated by your company.
Businesses with calculated scope 3 emissions will demonstrate transparency, showing the company is going further than reputational gain. For more guidance on measuring scope 3 emissions, the GHC has published technical guidance to explain the details.
Start With the Easy Wins
Once the baseline carbon footprint is measured, it’s time to put a plan in place to reduce the carbon footprint over time. Scope 1 and 2 can be tackled immediately. The easiest and cheapest way to reduce these emissions is energy efficiency (for example -reducing lighting, heat and cooling energy use).
You might consider choosing a supplier that buys electricity generated from renewable sources, or you can investigate on-site renewables of your own. Make sure there is a “guarantee of origin” and you are buying clean power.
Starting the transition of your company’s fleet to electric vehicles as soon as possible will provide benefits in the longer term as the Government’s pressure grows to tackle polluted air as well as reducing carbon emissions. The UK Government has confirmed the 2030 ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars.
Taking Action Now is Key
SMEs need to take collective responsibility and invest now to achieve the 2050 net-zero goal. Starting the transition to net-zero may help your business to become more efficient, reduce waste and enhance reputation.
How Creative Building Performance can help you achieve net-zero
We want to directly contribute to the digital transformation of the built environment by providing services and products and upskilling companies who are looking to make a positive impact without costing the earth. We aim to support small to medium sized businesses on their Net Zero journey, starting small and developing solutions beyond their current horizons.