Impact of global warming clearly understood by UK SMEs

Over 80% of the UK’s SMEs believe global warming poses a serious threat to humanity’s collective future and that their business can help tackle climate change, yet many have not factored it into their business plans, according to the latest independent research from Close Brothers Asset Finance.

Perhaps surprisingly, four in 10 firms pay to offset the carbon emissions of their business, rising to 62% in the Engineering sector.

A further 83% feel they can offset at least 25% of their firm’s emissions, whilst 48% believe they can become fully carbon neutral. 16% felt they could offset their carbon emissions by 75%, 13% felt they could offset them by 50%, and a further 6% believed they could offset by 25%.

Interestingly, 4% reported that they didn’t believe they could reduce emissions by 2050, whilst 13% said reducing carbon emissions is not a priority.

“A recent report from the British Business Bank states that while smaller businesses often have relatively low emission footprints at an individual level, they estimate that collectively they account for around half of UK business greenhouse gas emissions,” said Neil Davies, CEO of Close Brothers’ Commercial Division.

“What’s particularly encouraging is that not only are SMEs aware of their impact, but they are actively doing something about it, including using energy more efficiently, investing in electric cars, insulating offices and switching to renewable fuel sources.”

The research also asked what is the main way your business is helping to tackle climate change and found that 40% of businesses said they use energy efficiently. 23% reported that they use renewable energy and 10% said they’d gone paperless.

Additionally, 19% reported that they recycle, but only 2% said they offset their carbon footprint, whilst 5% said that they did none of the aforementioned measures.

Selected question analysis

Respondents from the Engineering and Transport and Haulage sectors are most likely to have considered climate change and other environmental factors in their business plan.

What firms are doing to lower their emissions:

  • Investing in electric cars – 45%
  • Insulating offices – 55%
  • Switching to renewable fuel sources – 55%
  • Installing solar panels – 42%
  • Installing a wind turbine – 30%

For a more detailed breakdown or discussion about the results, contact Anton Nebbe, Head of PR and Communications, 07736 286 144,