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Posted on: 

3 August 2022

Net Zero – Help & Advice for Small Businesses

A recent YouGov survey of business decision makers found that only 29% of UK businesses have a strategy for net zero, with 42% feeling overwhelmed by what is required. So we've compiled this customer guide to help you think about what Net Zero means to your business, breaking down the jargon and highlighting quick wins for carbon reduction.
Turning a new leaf with Net Zero

Looking at things from a different business perspective, making that commitment to change, coming up with a plan, and then of course sticking to it are all challenges that your business and employees will face.

An important point to note is that change won’t happen over night, the right approach for your business takes time to figure out and put into action. It must also be sustainable in the long-term.

You’ll need a plan to help you on your journey to Net Zero, initially, it might be something simple like carrying out the quick wins in this net zero guide. Some could even help have a positive effect on your bottom line.

Net Zero Quick Wins

1. Switch to Renewable Energy
This is one of the simplest but most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, we break the misconception that renewable energy ultimately costs a lot more, when in reality it won’t. Learn more about our low-cost, REGO (Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin) backed energy products here:
2. Reduce your Car Travel

Another positive step to cutting your emissions is to consider your forms of transportation. Electric cars are the lowest carbon, they emit around a third of the CO2 of a petrol car in the UK. Government grants may be available to subsidise the cost of new electric vehicles. If your business relies heavily on the use of transport, you may also want to seek advice from The Energy Saving Trust (EST). 

3. Get Energy Efficient Lighting

Likely the most obvious but changing lighting across a building to more energy efficient options such as LED can make a big difference. Use of natural lighting and switching off where possible can also be a quick win. Motion sensors and dimmable lights should also help reduce electricity usage and therefore costs.

4. Check Office Temperatures

Lots of energy can be wasted if heating and/or cooling systems are incorrectly set or not working in harmony. Installing a heating management system to control it may help. If your heating system is much simpler, ensure the setting on the thermostat reflects the desired temperature. Avoid dramatic swings in temperature. 

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5. Reuse, Recycle & Reduce

Empowering your workforce to reduce energy, water and paper consumption all helps to reduce your carbon footprint. Actions like going paperless and ensuring staff have reusable food/drink containers can all help. There are solutions everywhere to going digital and therefore cut down on paper usage. If you can’t go without it then try looking into the cost of using recycled paper.

6. Decarbonise your Supply Chain

Your supply chain falls within Scope 3, which is usually the hardest to reduce. It can take a lot of time to engage and also agree on the action with existing suppliers and their customers to reduce emissions. Whilst this is not necessarily a quick win, there is increasing pressure on suppliers to have sustainable credentials. You might already find that many have plans to reduce carbon emissions.

Calculating your business carbon footprint

But to build something sustainable, you’ll need to be able to measure your emissions to understand your business footprint, identify emission hotspots and work out how to reduce them over time. We recommend using a tool developed by the Carbon Trust, specifically built for small & medium-sized businesses.

Carbon Footprint Calculator:

The tool is not an extensive calculator but will help you measure emissions from your fuel and processes (Scope 1 emissions) and those emissions from electricity purchased to operate your business assets (Scope 2 emissions).
Become an even brighter spark

As with any important matter such as climate change, carbon reduction and net zero, there is a wealth of information online to further your understanding. We appreciate you have a business to run, and there’s so much to digest, that’s why we’ve created this customer guide.

That said it would be a worthy investment of your time to dig around and find out other sources that offer advice and support on the matter. As a starting point, we can recommend the Net Zero for Businesses Guide compiled by The Carbon Trust. It’s available to download directly from their website link below.
Net Zero Jargon Buster

The jargon around the Net Zero topic can sometimes be confusing, so we’ve covered off the basics below…

When greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to as close to zero as possible, to the point where they can be balanced out by removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

A measure of an individual, or in this case, a business or product carbon emissions. It covers all greenhouse gases expressed in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Reducing emissions to the point where a balance can be reached between the amount of carbon emitted and the amount being removed from the atmosphere, often referred to as net zero.

Ways to offset unavoidable emissions, such as tree planting or environmental restoration, also includes emission-reducing schemes and renewable projects.

Another term for the act of reducing Co2 and greenhouse gas emissions.

There are six key greenhouse gases that are contributing to climate change through human activity including Carbon dioxide, Methane and Nitrous oxide.

These are the three scopes to categorise the different kinds of emissions a business creates in its own operations and in its wider ‘value chain’ (its suppliers and customers). Scope 1 emissions cover sources that a business owns or controls directly – e.g. burning fuel in a fleet of vehicles. Scope 2 are emissions that a business causes indirectly when the energy it purchases and uses is produced.

Scope 3 emissions are not produced by the business itself, instead those that it’s indirectly responsible for, up and down its value chain.

See the complete Net Zero Help Guide Below