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O2 launches Net Zero Hub

O2 launches Net Zero Hub to help SMEs accelerate their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.

Carbon footprint a mystery to 9 out of 10 small businesses…

What’s happening?

  • National business survey finds vast majority of small businesses have yet to put targets in place to reduce their emissions – with the pandemic pushing climate action down the agenda
  • Just 11% of respondents measure their carbon footprint, although half of respondents acknowledge their customers are worried about the environment
  • Larger firms are far more likely to betaking environmental action than microbusinesses
  • Cost is considered the biggest barrier, with 30% claiming lack of finance is holding them back 
  • The British Chambers of Commerce and O2 have today launched a free online hub for firms to find all the information, tools and support they need to become net zero
     

Research published today by the British Chambers of Commerce in partnership with O2 has found that only one in ten (11%) responding businesses, of more than 1,000 surveyed in the UK, are measuring their carbon footprint.

This falls to 9% for small businesses, and 5% for microbusinesses, with fewer than 10 employees. By contrast 26% of larger firms, with more than 50 employees, are measuring their footprint.

The research also showed only one in seven (13%) have set targets to reduce their emissions – down from one in five (21%) when firms were surveyed before the pandemic in February 2020.

In addition, almost two thirds (64%) of businesses surveyed say they don’t see net zero targets as a high priority in the wake of the pandemic, although half (49%) admit their customers are worried about the environment.

The findings also show that one in five businesses (22%) don’t fully understand the term ‘net zero,’ and almost a third have yet to seek advice or information to help them develop a net zero roadmap or improve their environmental sustainability.

With the impacts of the pandemic and other priorities weighing heavily on small and medium sized businesses, the research found that smaller firms were far more likely to be behind on climate action. When it came to setting carbon reduction targets, 27% of larger firms have done so, compared to just 9% of microbusinesses.

Barriers and required support

The main barriers preventing respondents from making their business more sustainable are high upfront adaptation costs (34%) and a lack of finance (30%).

Getting access to grants (28%), tax allowances (14%) and reducing the costs of making adaptations (14%) were cited as the three steps businesses would most like to see to help them reduce their carbon consumption within the next six months.

While 13% said they would like access to impartial, bespoke advice with an action plan – and almost a third said they look online for advice on net zero and environmental sustainability.

How are O2 helping?

In response to the findings, the British Chambers of Commerce and O2 have today launched a free online hub to help businesses find out how to measure their carbon footprint, set targets and develop an overall net zero strategy. The new hub provides a one-stop-shop for businesses to find out everything they need to know about Net Zero. It is packed with information on how to apply for grants, where to seek specialist advice and practical tips from firms that have already taken action. 

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