The SME Climate Hub, a UN-backed initiative that helps SMEs take action on climate change, found in a recent survey that while small businesses are stepping up in the fight against climate change but lack the resources needed to invest fully in their climate journey.
The survey found 8 out of 10 respondents consider reducing emissions “a high priority,” with businesses making efforts to cut their greenhouse gas emissions through reductions to energy consumption and waste (82%), employee education (64%), and upgrades to facilities and equipment (52%). However, only 60% of the SMEs in this category had a long-term emission reduction plan in place, highlighting the importance of short term actions and the need for increased planning amongst these first movers.
María Mendiluce, CEO of the We Mean Business Coalition, a founding partner of the SME Climate Hub said: “Taken on an individual scale, each small business has a relatively moderate carbon footprint. However, together, these small businesses have a huge impact – both on the planet and on their communities. To limit the effects of climate change, and to create a just future that leaves no one behind, it’s imperative that every business, of every size, has the tools they need to prioritize climate action.”
Through the SME Climate Hub, businesses committing to net zero can access tools and support to measure, report on, and reduce their emissions. Since the distribution of the survey, the initiative has addressed resource needs of the small business community, launching tools for education, skills development, and financial incentives, with additional tools being developed in the coming months.
With the Industry CO2 Insights tool developed by Normative, the SME Climate Hub helps businesses understand their baseline emissions through insights into the carbon footprint of businesses in the same industries and regions.
In November, the SME Climate Hub launched Climate Fit, a step by step resource developed by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and Business for Social Responsibility to help small businesses learn practical skills to reduce their carbon emissions, covering topics of strategy and operations to governance and the supply chain.
To address the financing gap, the initiative alongside BSR and CISL has released a financial support guide to improve access to financing for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) working to reduce their carbon emissions. The SME Climate Hub also now offers a reporting framework developed in collaboration with Normative, CDP, and the Exponential Roadmap Initiative, which is intended to be used by SMEs to guide their reporting of climate impacts and strategies to multiple stakeholders. The next iteration of the reporting tool will support direct reporting by SMEs.
Mendiluce said: “We created the SME Climate Hub as a resource that’s accessible to small businesses around the world to help them in their journey to reach net-zero by 2050 or sooner.
Johan Falk, co-founder of the SME Climate Hub and head of the Exponential Roadmap Initiative added: “Our aim with the SME Climate Hub is to help millions of SMEs develop climate action plans – and to provide them with a commercial boost for doing so. We believe that the SME Climate Hub can play an important role in accelerating the race to a net-zero future.”