3 weeks ago
For British businesses on the journey to net zero, the launch of a new Government resource will be welcome news. The ‘UK Business Climate Hub’ will offer SMEs access to fresh guidance aimed at lowering their energy costs and cutting their carbon emissions. In this article, we take a closer look at the resources available, why SMEs need support and how they can take action.
For over 5.5 million SMEs in the UK, the online hub aims to help them slash energy bills and shrink their carbon footprint. Guidance is available across various topics, including acquiring electric vehicles at a cut price, investing in low-carbon technology, producing eco-friendly energy and even making some money back by selling surplus power back to the grid.
This initiative comes as with the recently established Net Zero Council urged Government ministers and businesses to take action and formulate plans to achieve net zero emissions in their respective sectors.
The content on the Business Climate Hub website, compiled with help from The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the National Grid and NatWest, covers a range of topics from supply chains and electric vehicles to farming and waste. The site also features a carbon calculator to assist businesses in gauging, monitoring, and disclosing their emissions.
According to the FSB, small to medium-sized businesses make up 99.2% of all registered companies in the UK, contributing to over 60% of employment and approximately half of all profits in the private sector. These numbers highlight the vital role SMEs play in leading the country towards its emission goals.
Martin McTague of the FSB said: “We are pleased to have contributed to the new UK Business Climate Hub that will provide businesses with trusted tools and information to help them navigate the net zero transition. SMEs recognise their role in net zero but many still find it challenging to access the relevant support and resources to play their part. This new official platform for advice and support will really help.
“In addition to helping small firms become more energy and resource efficient, the hub also has the opportunity to empower small firms to take ambitious steps towards net zero, ultimately ensuring that they also benefit from the economic opportunities created in a net zero economy.”
Research by the International Chamber of Commerce reveals that 90% of SMEs are actively addressing sustainability issues, but encounter challenges in identifying strategies to effectively reduce their carbon footprint. This is why they are now being urged and supported to plan for net zero objectives.
Shirine Khoury-Haq of the Net Zero Council and Co-op Group said: “None of us will get to net zero without all of us getting to net zero. Ensuring that every business and every sector has a clear plan for delivering this non-negotiable target is key.
“I hope the UK Business Climate Hub will be a valuable tool for business leaders looking for guidance and support in this vital endeavour. The framework, which has been endorsed by the Net Zero Council and that is being published today, is designed to support organisations working to articulate a credible roadmap to Net Zero on a sector by sector basis.”
For most SMEs, some upgrades needed to cut their carbon footprint are simply not financially viable. There are some funding options available however.
For British businesses, Government grants present a promising avenue, with an allocation of nearly £5 billion available to help implement eco-friendly practices. This forms part of the Government's commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. With the new hub, SMEs can identify suitable financial options that match their business requirements and assess their qualification for each category.
Tax incentives can improve the viability of investing in green energy. The Government has introduced ‘environmental taxes’ that include programmes designed to incentivise firms to adopt climate conscious practices. By engaging with schemes like capital allowances, businesses can consider investments in energy-efficient or low-carbon technologies.
Securing a business loan is another avenue for attaining the necessary funds to decarbonise. In preparation to apply, it's important for business owners to evaluate their financial needs, repayment conditions and of course, their eligibility.
For SMEs who opt for the business finance path, it's crucial to have a well-prepared application to maximise their chances of approval. Lenders usually require documentation to evaluate businesses’ financial well-being and capacity to repay loans.
Credit scores are something that have a substantial influence on the application procedure. It's wise for SMEs to obtain a credit report and scrutinise it for any potential issues if they are uncertain about their status.
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At BusinessComparison, we can help you find the best finance options for your business and sustainable ventures. We compare business loans with the top providers from high street banks to smaller specialist lenders.