In August 2023, the UK government launched a new Sustainability Climate Hub for SMEs which aims to help SMEs accelerate business growth, build supply chain resilience with sustainable suppliers, and to better align themselves with shifting governmental policy and consumer expectations – both of which favour greener initiatives. It includes a free carbon calculator and a suite of tools to help businesses keep track of their emissions and save money by economising energy and resources.
This article will outline all the key information about the SME climate hub and highlight the pros and considerations for business owners.
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What is the UK Business Climate Hub?
The UK government has announced a new sustainability hub with the intention of supporting Britain’s small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to reduce their energy bills and work towards net zero.
The UK Business Climate Hub has been developed by the governmental Department for Energy and Security and Net Zero (DESNZ). It also came to fruition with the support of organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses, the National Grid and Natwest. Its chief goal is to offer support, advice and resources on how to implement cost-effective climate initiatives, earn carbon credits, secure green loans, offer sustainability training, minimise waste and partner with green suppliers.
The hub also provides a range of tools, such as a free carbon calculator to help companies keep a close eye on their emissions and carbon footprint. Thanks to these resources, firms can work more efficiently towards net zero.
The goal: To decarbonise UK businesses
The hub has been launched at just the right moment as SMEs currently face the challenge of meeting greener goals while managing scanter resources and fewer investment opportunities compared to larger UK-based businesses or international corporations. With SMEs making up a large portion of the UK’s business sector, their participation in decarbonisation initiatives is of huge significance. Which is why the hub potentially offers huge value to both the national – and international – goals of reaching net zero within the following decades.
Additionally, according to Sage and the International Chamber of Commerce, 90% of SMEs are dedicated to tackling climate change but struggle to know exactly where to start and how to implement carbon-saving strategies. This is partly due to a genuine desire to reverse climate change, combined with the fact that greener policies tend to translate to better businesses as consumers increasingly favour more sustainable organisations. The UK Business Climate Hub is therefore a highly useful resource offering guidelines for SMEs keen to work towards sustainability and higher profits.
What is the SME Climate Commitment?
The SME Climate Commitment is a pledge put forward by the UK Business Climate Hub. It encourages SMEs to halve their greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, reach net zero by 2050 and publish their progress year-on-year. Through doing so, businesses receive recognition from the United Nations Race to Zero campaign.
What support does the SME Climate Hub offer UK SMEs?
Specifically, the hub provides SMEs with advice on green initiatives to help businesses work towards their goals. This includes greater accessibility to electric vehicles, support generating renewable energy through installing low-carbon heat pumps and solar panels and guidance on reducing emissions from shipping goods.
These measures come with the added benefit of saving businesses money in the current economic downturn.
Pros and cons of the SME Climate Hub
The hub comes with the obvious advantage of providing firms with advice and support on reducing emissions and becoming more sustainable. With a carbon calculator, organisations can easily discover where they currently stand in terms of their sustainability, and can set realistic goals for reducing their carbon footprint. They also have access to courses and resources guiding them on green business practices. Additionally, they have the option to generate climate reports via the hub in order to publicly display their progress. With all this help achieving a greener company presentation, firms can gain in competitiveness and see a significant boost to businesses.
A potential disadvantage, however, is that some companies, especially those just starting out, may lack the time and resources to commit to reducing carbon emissions. Taking steps to implement a green business model can also be a lengthy and arduous transition for a firm and its employees, potentially involving a complete overhaul of operations and pricing strategies. It can also rack up significant additional expenses in the form of installing solar panels and other renewable energy sources.
However, SMEs may find it easier to manage operations and payments more efficiently using a comprehensive POS solution and invoicing software to ensure quicker payments. This may allow them more freedom and resources to pursue sustainability.
Overall, the goal of the UK Business Climate Hub is to empower small companies to become more energy efficient and take further steps towards achieving net zero. After all, as a nation, we can only achieve our net-zero goals if all businesses, big and small, participate.
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