How SMEs can unlock opportunity from net zero

NatWest’s Springboard to Sustainability research has found £160bn of climate opportunity for SMEs.

In-depth analysis of the UK SME landscape and the transition to a low-carbon economy reveals SMEs can play a crucial role in helping the UK reach net-zero emissions – if they get the right support. 

NatWest’s Springboard to Sustainability research says there is significant revenue opportunity from UK SMEs reducing their carbon footprint. Not only that, supporting SMEs could enable 50% to 55% of the UK’s emissions reduction target.

This is important because, as the world’s scientists have agreed, we must all act with urgency if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. 

But the Springboard to Sustainability research also shows less than 10% of SMEs currently see climate action as a source of future growth. And even in instances where there is a positive business case, SMEs face several barriers to act.

At COP26 and beyond, government, financial institutions, and the private sector will be stepping up to help SMEs see climate action as a source of future growth and opportunity.

Climate opportunity

The Springboard to Sustainability research identifies ways in which businesses are creating value from delivering climate action.

York-based Cooper King Distillery, for example, has demonstrated a 22% increase in turnover, as well as the country’s first carbon-negative gin – for every bottle sold, 1kg of CO2 is removed from the atmosphere.

You can read more in the full report, below.

Other SMEs are taking the opportunity to drive business value by:

  • taking advantage of green incentives set by government

  • investing in energy efficiency

  • shifting to renewable sources

  • creating low-emission work environments

  • installing green technologies

  • installing electric vehicle charge points

Find out more in the report about the six ways financial institutions, government, industry bodies and large corporates will play their part in unblocking the barriers for SMEs.

NatWest is committed to helping level up the SME landscape, driving productivity and encouraging SMEs to thrive.


A springboard to sustainable recovery - read the full report

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