If you’re reading this blog, I imagine you understand what a carbon footprint is. Perhaps you have done some research into conducting a carbon footprint calculation for your business?
You have worked out that you need to reduce your carbon footprint but you are unsure as to whether as a small business it is worth the effort and potential cost.
So why are more and more SMEs gearing towards sustainability?
Anyone who has been keeping track of the news, especially since COP26 in November 2021, knows that this is a critical time for our planet. According to The Guardian, “the world has already heated up by around 1.2C, on average, since the preindustrial era”. If we don’t crack down and change our habits, we are on a catastrophic path of no return. Businesses have a responsibility to reduce their impact on the planet. Not only for future generations but for our generation as we are already seeing impacts of climate change which will worsen in our lifetime (and the lifetime of your business).
It’s clear that consumers have started to become more climate conscious in the last decade, and a significant number of the largest consumer group (millennials and Gen Z) tend to look at green credentials before purchasing. In fact, a study by Sage with just over 2,000 SME decision-makers in the UK supported this view, as over 29% felt extreme pressure from their customers to be more sustainable. Furthermore, there is a growing pressure from stakeholders, investors, and even suppliers to provide carbon reporting to help businesses establish a certain level of credibility. In fact, Oxford university found that more than 80% of mainstream investors consider Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) information before making investments.
With the increased scrutiny against greenwashing and the introduction of the Green Claims Code, customers and other stakeholders are looking for brands that are honest and transparent about their sustainability efforts. Measuring and reporting your carbon emissions is a great starting point to proudly display your environmental journey to anyone that’s watching. As aforementioned, there’s a lot of pressure to be more sustainable and the level of transparency so being a business that reports their emissions will give you an edge against your competitors.
Finding out where your emissions lie allows you to focus on specific areas to reduce. It’s important that you know what has most impact and the least impact so that efficiencies can be made in appropriate areas. Reduced energy consumption means lower energy bills and with rising energy prices, this impact is only going to become more severe. Similarly, there is no point spending thousands on an Electric Vehicle in a bid to reduce your scope 1 emissions if you’re only doing a few miles a month, better to focus on where your big emitters are.
There are already some regulatory requirements for larger businesses to comply with strict sustainability practices, and as was mentioned above, this is completely on a voluntary basis for SMEs. SMEs actually account for over 99% of all businesses in the UK, but their collective carbon contribution is often overlooked and not measured. Considering SMEs contribute around half of the turnover in the UK private sector, it’s not difficult to see that their carbon contribution could be significant enough for there to be an emphasis on SME carbon footprint calculations.
C Free thoughts:
Overall, there are a lot of moral, environmental, and profit-driven reasons to consider a carbon footprint calculation for your businesses. If you are planning on doing the calculation yourself, stay tuned as we’re bringing out a blog on how to do this! If you are looking for a helping hand, get in touch and we can answer any questions you may have.
The most important thing is to get started. Start taking action, get a group of passionate employees involved, have a conversation with someone about it. Anything is better than nothing.