National Security , Newsline

Racing to a Net-Zero Future

Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2022
by Outside Contributor

Last week we celebrated Earth Day, reminding us of the fragility of the environment. A first-of-its-kind survey from the SME Climate Hub reveals that small and medium-sized businesses are concerned about the climate but need more resources and guidance to help them reduce carbon emissions. (It’s a global United Nations-backed survey, that’s why it refers to SME and not SMB.)

The survey found that 50% of small businesses already calculate their carbon emissions, and 60% have made plans to reduce their carbon impact. But small business owners are concerned that they lack the ability to take on the climate crisis because they:

  • Don’t have the right resources—68%
  • Don’t have the “right skills and knowledge”—63%
  • Don’t have the proper funding—48%
  • Don’t have the time—40%

That said, 80% have made reducing emissions a “high priority” and are taking action to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by:

  • Reducing their energy consumption and waste—82%
  • Educating employees—64%
  • Upgrading their facilities and equipment—52%

The SMBs understand the importance of tackling the climate crisis—96% say it’s “the right thing to do” and are now prioritizing taking action to:

  • Enhance their company’s reputation—73%
  • Differentiate themselves from their competitors—61%
  • Meet customer expectations—42%

Barriers to Taking Action

The SME Climate Hub is trying to address the concern about lacking the proper skills and knowledge by providing information about where and how to get started and the available tools to help. 

As noted above, the second biggest barrier to taking action is a lack of funding, and 69% of the SMBs say they need access to external funds to reduce their emissions faster or at all. Only 33% have been offered a financial incentive to reduce emissions.

The global definition of a small business matches the one in the U.S.—a company with fewer than 500 employees. And while it may seem the actions of one small business won’t really impact the climate, 90% of all businesses in the world are small. So the combined effect of small businesses taking action would make a significant impact.

Tools to Help Reduce Emissions

To address the resource needs of small businesses, the SME Climate Hub has launched tools for education, skills development, and financial incentives.

“The most important thing is to get started. Every organization is a part of the journey, and every forward step matters,” says Kristian Rönn, CEO and co-founder of Normative. To that end, Normative has developed a free Industry CO2 Insights tool so you can calculate your company’s carbon footprint.

Last fall, the SME Climate Hub launched Climate Fit, a step-by-step resource developed by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and Business for Social Responsibility covering topics including strategy, operations, governance, and the supply chain, to help SMBs learn practical skills to reduce their carbon emissions.

A financial support guide was released ​​to improve access to financing for the SMBs currently working to reduce their carbon emissions to address the financing gap. The SME Climate Hub also offers a reporting framework developed in collaboration with Normative, CDP, and the Exponential Roadmap Initiative, intended to help small businesses guide their reporting of climate impacts and strategies. 

Johan Falk, one of the co-founders of the SME Climate Hub and head of the Exponential Roadmap Initiative, says their goal is “to help millions of small businesses develop climate action plans and provide them with a commercial boost for doing so.”

If you want to join the “race to a net-zero future,” check out the SME Climate Hub and get advice from your SCORE mentor. Don’t have a mentor? You can find one here.

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1 year ago

Speaking as a business owner, I find it hard to believe that so many small businesses are not aware of and have not taken steps to make their companies more profitable. I did say “profitable”, because the high cost of energy (thanks to the greenies) and increases in all costs affect the bottom line. And the bottom line determines whether or not your doors will open for the day.

I’ve always been aware of the impact of my small business on the environment. I also know how expensive it is just staying in business. So we have to use resources wisely or we’ll need to find another line of work. No one is more accountable than the small business owner.

On the responsibility of the business sector to alter their methods and cut emissions in order to check off those boxes deemed essential by government officials, sorry…that’s not their job. I’ve had it up to here with politicians and self-crowned climate change experts who have no idea how to economically produce crops or goods or provide services, or the responsibility on the part of the business owners to keep people gainfully employed. Do they really think they know better than we do? Sure, we can replace dead incandescent bulbs with CFL’s or LED’s and insulate our homes and shops. But most of us are smart enough to know what needs to be done both for higher profits and to protect the environment.

Over the past 50 years, as a homeowner and a landscaper, I’ve planted tens of thousands of trees, shrubs, and perennials. I’ve also taught my customers how to garden sensibly and how ecosystems work. So, my conscience is clear. Instead of spouting climate change hysteria to those who are aware of the cost of doing business and who have already implemented common sense changes, let them (us) get on with it. All this meddling only costs us money and might be much ado about nothing in the long run. If in doubt, plant some native trees where they shade the house from afternoon sun.

1 year ago

like chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Floyd Bridges
Floyd Bridges
1 year ago

Do you folks know that CO2 is necessary to the existence of plant life? Are Wokesters really this ignorant?

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