At Astun, we take our responsibility to the environment seriously. This #NetZeroWeek, we’re going one step further by signing up for the SME Climate Change Commitment. This encourages SMEs to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by half before 2030 and eradicate them by 2050.
Why it’s important for every SME to go green
Emissions from business and industry have almost halved since 1990 (source: Department for Business, Energy and & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)). Most of this reduction has taken place in the most energy-intensive industries. Now, it’s time to focus on less energy-intensive businesses, such as SMEs. Although they are by their very nature small, SMEs collectively generate a high volume of emissions. According to research:
- 99% of all UK businesses are SMEs (source: House of Commons Library)
- Over 50% of the UK’s territorial emissions from business and industry come from SMEs (source: BEIS)
As a growing SME, it’s clear to us that we have a responsibility to reduce our own emissions and to lead by example.
Rising to the challenge
Many of the carbon-reducing strategies available suit bigger businesses, especially manufacturers. Biomass boilers, green packaging and electric vehicle fleets all help product-based industries to cut their emissions. Our MD, Mike Saunt, explains the challenge for Astun, “There’s no single, simple way for us and the other 4.5 million service-based businesses in the UK to halve our emissions. Instead, we can take our lead from a well-known supermarket which believes that “Every little helps”! We’re working with our team to identify many small ways to minimise our environmental impact and we encourage other service-based SMEs to do the same. Collectively, we can make a huge difference.”
Employees have suggested a number of ideas already, including:
- Continuing to use online meetings after lockdown ends
- Encouraging everyone to use ‘green’ energy providers
- Providing solar window film (which reduces the need for cooling) and energy efficient light bulbs
- Encouraging employees to turn equipment off at night/weekends
- Encouraging the use of electric vehicles
- Developing a more sustainable purchasing policy
- Minimising printing
Could your business benefit from making the SME Climate Change Commitment?
Reducing the carbon produced by SMEs doesn’t just benefit the environment. The Carbon Trust found that across all sectors, SMEs have the greatest saving potential (20%) compared to larger organisations (8%) (source: Carbon Trust Research 2009).
If you’re interested in saving money and the environment, we’d encourage you to find out more about the SME Climate Change Commitment.