Unlocking the SME Net Zero Transition

Our recommendations respond to three sets of barriers that Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) told us prevent them from taking greater sustainability action.

The UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises – the SMEs that drive the country’s economy – are crucial players on the path to a more sustainable future. Some 99% of UK businesses are SMEs, and around three-quarters are sole traders. And although they have relatively low environmental footprints at an individual level, they account for 43-53% of UK businesses’ greenhouse gas emissions in aggregate.

The transition to a more sustainable economy is a resilience issue for all companies, large and small. Climate change and nature loss pose major risks to human wellbeing and financial stability, a message that is becoming starker as temperature rises start to exceed 1.5˚C. But importantly, the transformation of the global energy system is also an economic trend for which companies need to be prepared. Competitive pricing is making clean power and electric vehicle sales grow exponentially and, much like the digital and internet revolutions, companies will need to consider whether they are ready for these changes, particularly those that can benefit them.

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