An initiative aimed at providing small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) the resources they need to act on climate change has recently launched a new series of tools to help SMEs more effectively measure and report on their emissions.
The platform update includes an educational course, a carbon emissions reporting framework, a carbon calculator, and a financial support guide – specifically designed to help small businesses more seamlessly mitigate their environmental impact while building resilient business models.
The announcement is part of a recent update from the SME Climate Hub, an initiative of the We Mean Business Coalition, the Exponential Roadmap Initiative, the United Nations Race to Zero campaign, and the International Chamber of Commerce. In collaboration with Normative and the Net Zero team at Oxford University, the SME Climate Hub provides tools and resources to enable SMEs to make a climate commitment, take action and measure their progress towards emissions reductions.
“Small businesses cannot be expected to set and reach net-zero goals without support. Multinational corporations put in place complex and holistic thinking around climate action, often with large teams of sustainability professionals integrating climate across the entire business strategy,” said María Mendiluce, CEO of We Mean Business Coalition.
“Small businesses lack such resources, yet they will be held to the same net zero standards over time – from consumers, policy, and investors,” she added.
According to the World Bank, small and medium sized enterprises account for 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide, yet larger corporations are often the focus of climate discourse, leaving smaller businesses with little impetus to change.
Frog Bikes, a UK children’s bicycle manufacturer committed to halving their emission by 2030 and be net zero by 2050 is one of over 3,500 companies working to reduce their emissions through the SME Climate Hub. Specifically, they are looking at ways to reduce their use of primary aluminium, a material whose production is highly energy intensive.
“Our company is determined to reduce the emissions associated with manufacturing our bicycles,” said Shelley Lawson, director and co-founder of Frog Bikes.
“This represents both sourcing and supply chain challenges, so we joined the SME Climate Hub to help us tackle some of the issues – starting with fully understanding and measuring our current emissions. The collective resources that the Hub has gathered together made it easier to take the first steps on this journey,” she added.
Leading up to the development of the suite of tools, the Hub surveyed small and medium sized businesses about the primary barriers to climate action. With over 63% of respondents listing skills and knowledge as a key barrier, the Hub confirmed the value of creating Climate Fit, a free online training course which offers a step by step plan to help enterprises reduce carbon emissions.
Developed in collaboration with the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), the course covers modules from governance and strategy to finance and people.
The first iteration of the Hub’s carbon calculator, developed by Normative with the support of Google.org, has also been launched and will allow companies to understand which areas of their industry are the source of emissions hotspots, while a reporting framework created in partnership with CDP will empower SMEs to track and report progress on climate commitments.
The Hub also recently launched an online guide with BSR and CISL to improve access to financial support for SMEs working to reduce carbon emissions. The resources aim to help small businesses secure long-term viability and improve profits, to strengthen their climate impact.
Along with the new tools, the SME Climate Hub recently supported the launch of the 1.5°C Supplier Engagement Guide, a collaborative platform created by the Exponential Roadmap Initiative to engage large corporations in working with their suppliers to halve emissions by 2030.
Introduced in Glasgow at COP26, companies behind the 1.5°C Supply Chain Leaders and the initiative’s Engagement Guide include Telefónica, BT, and Mastercard amongst others. These companies have also committed to encouraging SMEs in their supply chains to make the SME Climate Commitment.
“This is a crucial year for climate action and Mastercard, like other companies, has ambitious carbon reduction targets that will help drive exponential impact for the planet; addressing the emissions of our global supply chains will be vital to bring us closer to our net zero goals,” said Kristina Kloberdanz, chief sustainability officer at Mastercard.
“We do not have the time or the resources for all of us to go it alone, so we need to be able to work together, between businesses large and small. Through the 1.5°C Supply Chain Leaders and the SME Climate Hub, we’re proud to support our suppliers in our collective journey to net zero and drive the collaboration that is vitally needed,” she added.
The SME Climate Hub is continuing to build out financial resources and tools to simplify climate action for small businesses and are releasing the full results of their small business survey next month.
“Through the collaboration of partners with different expertise, we are creating a path forward to net-zero that’s simple and achievable — and most importantly, leaves no one behind,” said Mendiluce. “To reach our collective climate goals, every business has a role to play.”
Make the SME Climate Commitment and achieve net zero emissions before 2050.