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Everything SMEs need to know about the government’s newest ‘SME Climate Commitment’ initiative

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The Prime Minister recently announced a green training initiative that is available for all SME owners and sole traders across the UK.

This initiative is part of the ‘Together for our Planet’ campaign, which encourages small businesses to pledge to cut their carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 or sooner. As part of this, businesses are being encouraged to take small, practical steps to reduce emissions in the run-up to the UN Climate Summit COP26, to achieve a big impact.

In exchange, businesses will have access to a broad range of resources to support them on their carbon zero journey. We’ve summarised some of the main questions around the scheme.

What kind of commitments are SMEs being asked to make?

The government has developed the ‘SME Climate Commitment’, which is one of the three pillars of the UK Business Climate Hub. The other two pillars are ‘tools’ and ‘incentives’, both designed to help SMEs meet the commitment. The SME Climate Commitment involves signing up and promising to the following:

  • Halving greenhouse gas emissions before 2030
  • Achieving net zero emissions before 2050
  • Disclosing progress on a yearly basis

The scheme will give you all the tools to meet those goals, including helping you understand how to measure your current impact, and empowering to make changes, big and small, to meet your pledge. This can be tiny tweaks like printing less and turning lights out more regularly, or bigger commitments such as introducing recycling policies, offsetting shipping carbon or introducing recycling systems.  

How do you sign up to the pledge? 

SMEs can sign up through the new UK Business Climate Hub to make a pledge today.  

What kind of training is available through the scheme?  

SMEs can use the hub page to find some handy tools, resources and guides to understand their own emissions and put together a plan to reduce them. There will be a range of different advice around steps to take and how to measure the impact of your plan.  

The scheme will also provide SMEs with access to some of the UK’s biggest businesses and leading climate experts. Those will offer support through training sessions, collaborative events and general guidance and consultancy.  

What are the other benefits of the scheme?

The businesses that agree to make a zero commitment on the UK Business Climate Hub will be recognised by the United Nations Race to Zero campaign and will become ‘climate leaders’ - role-modelling and inspiring others in the community to find meaningful ways to take positive environmental action as the UK approaches COP26. The business’ logos will be displayed on some marketing material and promoted as part of the campaign.  

Businesses will also be rewarded for their carbon-reduction efforts with a Together for our Planet logo, which can be displayed on websites and shop windows. 

There are also wider benefits to reducing carbon emissions including getting ahead of the curve when it comes to impending changes of regulation, for example the incoming restrictions around the purchase of petrol and diesel vehicles. Committing to the scheme will help you future-proof your business and help power the UK economy to a zero carbon future.  

The UN-backed scheme provides access to an international community of like-minded business owners. Businesses that sign up to the pledge will receive regular newsletters and information from the Government to support their ongoing journey.

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