HOW WOULD YOUR BUSINESS BENEFIT FROM TAKING ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE?

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

Climate change is increasingly on the agenda of consumers, companies and countries and is rising up the list of priorities as we plan for recovery from the pandemic. Get a competitive advantage by considering the risks and opportunities and taking action early.

The drive to reduce carbon emissions presents opportunities and risks for SME’s as well as larger companies.

Consumer sentiment is changing, with a growing preference for greener products and services. Customers are prepared to pay more for sustainable goods with a lower carbon footprint and presenting a greener choice will build customer loyalty and long-term sales. Initiatives like ‘Green Street’ planet friendly shopping branding aim to raise awareness and attract customers.

Large UK companies are required to report publicly on their UK energy use and carbon emissions and mandatory TCFD reporting is being introduced for certain large entities at the end of this year. Energy use and carbon emissions within supply chains have a direct impact on the results that companies report, affecting their cost and availability of capital as investors put pressure on businesses of all sizes to take a serious look at their environmental and social impacts.

Large companies are seeking to decarbonise their supply chains, enabling suppliers to differentiate themselves against lower cost options by being transparent about taking action on carbon reduction. Some big retailers are collaborating with SMEs and small retailers help them make changes to reduce their emissions.

The UK government’s 2050 net-zero target will require businesses to make some huge changes to the way they work and the Government released an industrial decarbonisation strategy on 17th March. The UN annual climate change conference (COP26) due to take place in Glasgow in November, is expected to accelerate carbon reduction strategies including reporting requirements and potentially carbon taxes.

The Government’s ‘Build back better’ policy is backed by funding which is being managed locally by LEPs, a multitude of detailed strategies will be released in the next few months to further the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy and a new digital platform with help and advice will be live in May. The BATF will keep members updated.

Employees want to contribute to preserving the planet for the next generation. The emotional element to gaining visibility on the true cost of carbon in the product can influence hiring and retention. Companies in the oil, gas and mining industries are reporting difficulty in attracting and retaining the best staff.

First steps:

· Consider and measure your business energy use

· Set targets to reduce · Sign up to the ‘race to net zero’ online https://www.theclimatepledge.com

The majority of UK carbon emissions are from light, heat and transport. Members of the SEA have saved costs through the Climate Change Levy scheme designed to demonstrate reduced energy use in industrial processes. Members in other industries can switch to a renewable energy supplier and make energy conservation changes. Smart energy meters make energy use more visible helping to identify changes to reduce use and cost and increasing employee engagement. They are available to be fitted free to micro businesses using less than 100,000kw/h of electricity or 293,000kw/h of gas per year. https://www.smartenergygb.org/en/about-sm

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