A new training programme to help small businesses reduce their carbon emissions

The climate crisis is an urgent issue for everyone. The UK government has set an ambitious target to reach net zero by 2050 and all businesses of all sizes need to play a part if we’re to reach those goals. 

This is not just about doing the right thing — today’s consumers expect action: according to research from Edelman, 80% of people want brands to solve society’s problems. 

Small businesses make up 99% of the UK’s business community so they’ll play a crucial role in reaching net zero. Yet, understandably, small businesses don’t always have the time, resources or expertise to dedicate to this — especially as they focus on recovery from the pandemic. A study from the British Chambers of Commerce and O2 found that only one in 10 small businesses are measuring their carbon footprint, and a fifth of small businesses don’t fully understand the term “net zero”. Cost, and an ability to understand, measure and report emissions are cited as two of the main barriers to change. 

Sustainability training for small businesses

To help small businesses overcome these obstacles, we’re announcing a new free, simple and actionable training programme to help SMEs reduce their emissions. We developed the training in partnership with leading sustainability and net zero certification group, Planet Mark, as part of the UK Government’s Together for our Planet Business Climate Leaders campaign, which encourages small businesses to commit to cutting their emissions in half by 2030 and to net zero by 2050. 

Our training is designed for small businesses starting their journey towards sustainability, with an emphasis on how a sustainability strategy can help drive business performance. It sets out the business case and imperative for cutting emissions, and explains practical, digitally-focused ways to decarbonize — from using paperless billing and Cloud-enabled technology, to renewable energy sourcing and supply chains. Since we know how much consumers care about this, it also covers how small businesses can use their sustainability credentials to differentiate. 

One business already doing this successfully is catering company, Fooditude. They made tangible changes to their business, like limiting their food waste, going paperless with admin systems and swapping to local suppliers, and reduced their emissions by over 30% per meal. Dean Kennett, Fooditude’s Managing Director, attributes £3 million in new revenue to their new sustainability credentials, as well as their ability to hire staff who share their values, and a shared purpose among employees.