FSB urges action to help smaller firms become more sustainable

The UK’s smaller firms are keen to become more eco-friendly, according to the Federation of Small Businesses – which has outlined proposals for the UK government that it says are necessary to help achieve such goals.

The organisation has today unveiled its study, Accelerating Progress: Empowering small businesses on the journey to net zero, which has been launched to coincide with COP26, as well as the FSB’s Small Business Net Zero Conference.

The report saw 1,200 small firms surveyed between August 23 and September 3, and they said they were keen to reduce carbon emissions, become more sustainable, and achieve net-zero status.

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One of the FSB's proposals is focused on helping deliver necessary zero-emissions-vehicle charging infrastructure by 2030. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.
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Only 36 per cent have a formal plan in place to combat climate change in their business. Two thirds said they were addressing energy usage, but among those who have not yet taken action to cut their power consumption, 22 per cent flagged a lack of capital to invest in assets such as heat pumps.

Over half of the businesses surveyed said grants or low-interest loans would be a strong incentive to become more energy-efficient.

The FSB outlined steps to help the UK’s 5.6 million small business owners build a more sustainable future. These include urging the UK Government to launch a Help to Green initiative, modelled on Help to Grow, encompassing £5,000 vouchers that businesses could spend on environmental products and services.

Other measures being called for include lowering the capital requirements banks must adhere to when lending to businesses for green improvements; and setting out target-based infrastructure strategies to deliver necessary zero-emissions-vehicle charging infrastructure by 2030.

FSB national chair Mike Cherry said: “Adopting sustainable practices on the journey to net zero is everyone’s duty. Small businesses are keen to play their part, but often don’t have the resources, deep pockets and dedicated specialists enjoyed by their larger counterparts.

“With world leaders converging on Glasgow for COP, we need much more than a talking shop. If we are to successfully transition to net zero, it’ll be through grassroots action, enabled by smart and supportive policies. The challenge we face calls for practical action plans that can be implemented immediately, and we hope to see such plans emerge from this week’s conference.”

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