Small business ‘climate leaders’ can help drive Britain’s net-zero future
From entrepreneurial family firms to the very largest household names, businesses have a critical role to play in cutting their carbon emissions to deliver the global action on climate change that we know is urgently needed.
As the UK brings the whole world together in Glasgow for COP26 in November, the Prime Minister and COP President – as well as many colleagues – share the desire see the world unite behind a plan for a low carbon, prosperous and resilient future.
As of today, more than 45 of the UK’s FTSE 100 companies have now signed up to the United Nation’s Race to Zero campaign, cementing the UK’s position as the leader of the international business community in tackling climate change. That number more than doubled in just the last six months. But small businesses are at the heart of every local community and are the powerhouse of our economy – they make up 99 per cent of the UK’s enterprises, employ 60 per cent of the UK workforce and generate £2.2 trillion of revenue.
Without them, a community doesn’t thrive - and without their commitment to reduce emissions, neither will the environment. We must take this unique opportunity to encourage and support every small business to see the benefits of building back greener as we recover from the pandemic and look towards a brighter, more sustainable future.
One of my missions as the Prime Minister’s Net Zero Business Champion is to ignite a nationwide movement, drawing on the support of partners and grassroots engagement with the smallest of businesses to help them take the first step on their net zero journey.
The Together For Our Planet ‘Business Climate Leaders’ campaign encourages and supports the UK’s small businesses to do just that. To lead the way by making their own formal commitment to cut their emissions to net zero by 2050 or sooner, while helping them grow, adapt and thrive, in the run up to COP and beyond.
We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to make real change at a local level
Since the Prime Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng and I formally launched the campaign at the end of May, small businesses from a diverse range of industries - from beauticians and bus companies to distilleries and dog groomers - have already come forward to make their net zero commitment, and thousands have visited the new business hub to access advice on going green.
There are many ways parliamentarians can support the campaign, Whether that’s using our toolkit to share the campaign on social media, visiting small businesses, organising roundtables or arranging events. We want to see every part of the country represented on our small business commitment map, and with COP just weeks away, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to make real change at a local level.
As a government, we are putting in place a range of measures to help reach our world-leading target to eliminate our contribution to climate change by 2050 –and businesses will play a crucial role. By signing up as a Climate Leader, businesses can showcase to their communities how they are working at their greenest – something consumers will increasingly consider as a factor in deciding where to spend their money.
And our Together for Our Planet campaign, led locally by Members of Parliament, can ensure as many businesses as possible take up this opportunity.
Andrew Griffith is Conservative MP for Arundel and South Downs and the UK's Net-Zero Business Champion
Get the inside track on what MPs and Peers are talking about. Sign up to The House's morning email for the latest insight and reaction from Parliamentarians, policy-makers and organisations.