The UK Government has pledged that we will become net zero by 2050, however there are 75% of UK SMEs that do not have any goals or targets in place to help reach this. One in four of these companies do not understand how this target will affect them and only one in ten of them are calculating their carbon footprint. According to a YouGov survey, Lloyds Bank Business stated that 50% of SMEs didn’t even know what the term ‘net zero’ meant. Therefore, they have no idea what they should be putting targets in place for and due to this they cannot implement sufficient strategies to lower their carbon footprints.
In order to lower our carbon footprint as efficiently as possible the Government has plans to reduce our emissions by 78% by 2035. To do this, businesses need to be figuring out which strategies will help them to become sustainable, and this will take time. This is before they think about putting those strategies into practice and updating them if they don’t work. Many SMEs are struggling to find time to consider the strategies they need to put in place and how to reach a net zero target. As many of these businesses don’t fully understand what ‘net zero’ means, more time needs to be added on for them to become educated on what they need to achieve. With issues raised by Brexit and backlogs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses are finding it difficult to prioritise sustainability.
Another major factor for the lack of sustainable targets is that SMEs just don’t have the money to put sustainable strategies into place. Larger companies are more likely to have money that is to be used for making the company sustainable and they may even have a team in place to implement strategies. Many SMEs cannot afford to do this and therefore do not have the funds that will allow them to put sustainable targets in place. The UK Government has established Green Grants, specifically to help SMEs become more sustainable, which should lower the percentage of SMEs that have no targets in place at all.
It is obvious that more needs to be done to educate, encourage and support our SMEs to become greener and more sustainable. With 30% of our greenhouse gas emissions coming from SMEs, it is important that they begin to go green as soon as possible.