With COP26 in full flow as we write this blog post we thought it would be a good idea to have the subject of today`s article carbon emissions and how businesses can reduce theirs.
Empowering Small Businesses To A Net Zero State
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has just published a new report on this very subject entitled “Accelerating Progress: Empowering small businesses on the journey to Net Zero”. The report finds that there is a long way to go to get to such an ideal scenario and that small businesses need help, advice and encouragement to lead them along this path.
Here are some of the key findings of the FSB report as copied from the Belfast Newsletter website:
`67% of small businesses have increased recycling and nearly half take steps to eliminate waste wherever possible.
`46% of small businesses now minimise site visits and use video conferencing in a change to their transport habits.
`Just over a third (35%) say they have a plan to reduce their impact on the environment.
`However, nearly three quarters (74%) of small businesses in NI say they do not know how to measure carbon emissions.
`Only one in 10 small firms in NI have measured their carbon emissions.
`Nearly half (45%) still cite lack of electric vehicle infrastructure or inefficient public transport (40%) as reasons for not doing more to adjust their transport habits.
`58% of small businesses in NI say grants, or low interest loans to install energy efficiency measures, would encourage them to become more energy efficient.
The NI Executive Must Step Up To Help SME`s Take Action
In the same article head of FSB Northern Ireland, Roger Pollen, said: “These figures indicate that although there are positive signs significant work is required in order to engage, enable and encourage small businesses to play their part in reducing carbon emissions. The NI Executive must step up to provide accessible and clear advice to help SMEs take action now.
“Many small businesses are already leading the way and identifying opportunities for clean growth, however, others need guidance in order to take the right steps. SMEs have demonstrated that, provided the right incentives are in place, they are keen to reduce their carbon footprint. Government must respond to this demand.
“With an increasing global trend towards electric vehicles, NI’s poor vehicle charging infrastructure continues to act as a barrier for boosting adoption of this mode of transport. This demonstrates the key role that the policy environment can play in determining the decisions that businesses and consumers make.”
And here are some of the key measures that the report recommends:
`The NI Assembly should ensure Climate Change Legislation is passed within the current electoral mandate to avoid further delay and uncertainty. This legislation should include a statutory duty on officials to engage with small businesses by carrying out a Small and Micro Business Impact Test (SAMBIT) when developing future environmental policy.
`The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) should establish a Climate Change Stakeholder Group which would help NI businesses to maximise dialogue and joint working to address the patchwork effect of current Northern Ireland environment policy. The Executive should also establish a dedicated webpage or microsite for businesses, with digestible advice to help businesses take action now.
The full article is well worth a read and let us hope that some of the findings and the recommendations are acted upon as soon as possible.