- -

Majority of UK small businesses unaware of net zero opportunities

Published June 21, 2021

Majority of UK small businesses unaware of net zero opportunities

The majority of the UK’s small businesses do not see net zero as an opportunity for investment, according to research.

Although 75% of SMEs are aware of the government’s commitment to reach net zero by 2050,  one in four said they did not know how the goal would affect them. An even higher proportion, 85%, do not see reaching net zero as an opportunity for investment.

Generally, SMEs see the benefits of reaching net zero in terms of protecting the environment and saving on electricity costs, the research from Lloyds Bank found. Only 21% are aware of its benefits in attracting and retaining employees or customer expectation (19%).

“It’s perhaps not surprising that SMEs are not geared up for net zero,” said Alfa Energy’s head of corporate affairs, Jeremy Nicholson, “but it’s striking that 85% of them didn’t see it as a source of new investment opportunities. SMEs should bear in mind that legal, regulatory and client requirements will mean they have to take this more seriously whether they see it as an opportunity or not.”

The research also showed that the smaller the business the less likely they are to adapt to and benefit from a net zero economy. Almost half (47%) of the smallest businesses surveyed (10- 19 employees) said they have no plans to commit to Net Zero, compared to just 5% of the largest SMEs. One-in-seven large SMEs (14%) say they have already reached net zero, while only one in 25 of the smallest businesses make this claim.

Jeremy Nicholson added: “Some SMEs may not realise that measures such as improving their energy efficiency are part of net zero, but it’s still a good idea to do so. The benefits will only increase as traditional energy supplies get more expensive and footprint reduction requirements ramp up.  This is where consultants such as Alfa Energy have a role to play. While large businesses can dedicate resources to net zero, many SMEs will need outside support.”