Small businesses across Wales are being urged to take steps to fight climate change and pledge to cut their emissions, as part of a national call to put the small business community at the heart of the green revolution ahead of the UN Climate Summit COP26 in Glasgow.
Together the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Business & Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng have launched the Together for our Planet ‘business climate leaders’ campaign, a new drive to encourage small and micro businesses to commit to cutting their emissions in half before 2030, and to net zero by 2050 or sooner.
The Prime Minister and the Business & Energy Secretary marked the launch of the new small business campaign at Downing Street, where they met small and micro companies from across the UK who have already made a net zero commitment. This includes software company Vindico, based in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire.
Taking action on climate change, will help businesses grow, seize new opportunities, create new jobs, encourage investment and adapt against the challenges of a changing planet, while reducing emissions can lower businesses’ running costs, save them money and attract new customers – ultimately helping Wales’ small businesses maintain a competitive advantage, along with the rest of the UK, globally.
Steps small businesses can take could include installing energy saving light bulbs, switching to electric vehicles and other cleaner forms of transport to reduce their carbon footprint, looking at environment-friendly packaging options, or introducing cycle to work schemes for employees. Tools and resources will be available through the new UK’s Business Climate Hub.
There are a number of small businesses across Wales who have already made their pledges to net zero and are leading the way for the UK’s small business green revolution.
Smart green tech: Vindico is a team of blue sky thinkers and problem solvers that makes up a leading software company based in Llanelli, South Wales. Vindico developed the bespoke low-cost sensor and software platform called ‘Think Air’ that is now the largest background Air Quality network in Wales, aimed at making air quality affordable and accessible. Also their building has a large solar installation with the latest LED power saving lighting and measures in place and they are launching Purple Footprint – a project that allows other companies to reduce their carbon footprint by offsetting and contributing to local eco-friendly carbon reducing initiatives.
Clean car, clean climate: Right in the heart of Pembrokeshire is the home to the thriving small business car cleaning retailer, BecauseRaceCar Box. This company delivers gift boxes full of sustainable car cleaning products for car enthusiasts. They are committed to only using starch based biodegradable packaging inside their subscription boxes as well as sourcing from eco-friendly suppliers and reducing company waste.
That’s the green spirit: Aber Falls Ltd, the first whisky distillery in North Wales for over 100 years, is passionate about lowering its carbon footprint and achieving its carbon reduction goals. That’s why the local company is passionate about one day running its visitor centre on renewable energy and is looking into the development of new green technologies to ensure their energy mix is fit for the future, including developing low carbon packaging and waste disposals.
Business & Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:
“Wales is home to thousands of small businesses who are the backbone of our economy, and as we transition to a green future, Wales’ small business community will also be the backbone of the region’s fight against climate change.
“When small businesses take the leap to go green, this creates huge opportunities for Wales – helping Welsh industries remain competitive and ensuring all of Wales is fit for the future.
“Simple changes could differentiate a business from its competition, attracting new customers and investment and saving them money on their running costs. That is why today, I am urging all of Wales’ small businesses to sign-up to become business climate leaders and lead the UK’s charge in protecting the future of our planet.”
Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said:
“Many of our fantastic small businesses throughout Wales have already taken steps to reduce their emissions but there is still work to be done.
“Simple changes can make a huge difference when combating climate change, creating future opportunities for Welsh industry and ensuring that we lead the way in protecting the environment.
“The Together for our Planet’ campaign will help and encourage small businesses across Wales join the drive to net zero ahead of our 2050 target.”
As small businesses make up 99% of the UK’s enterprises, employ 60% of the UK workforce and generate £2.2 trillion of revenue to the economy, it is crucial these enterprises take action and reduce their carbon footprint.
The campaign will encourage small business owners to share their experiences and learn from each other by highlighting innovative solutions to reducing emissions. It will encourage businesses to take simple but significant steps to make sure they are playing their part in the fight against climate change, including turning down the heating, installing energy saving light bulbs, and swapping to electric vehicles and other cleaner forms of transport to reduce their carbon footprint, and they will receive ongoing advice on how to start their net zero journey.
The campaign calls on the 6 million SMEs across the entire UK to take action too and will run alongside the COP Presidency’s ask of big businesses across the world to also join the Race to Zero.
The UK’s Net Zero Business Champion Andrew Griffith said:
“The UK has a unique opportunity to come together to tackle climate change and I congratulate the Welsh companies who have already taken the leap to turning their business green. We all need to play our part, and as small businesses make up the majority of the UK’s business community it is critical that they get involved and make the small changes needed to reduce their carbon footprint.
“I have heard from numerous businesses asking for guidance on how they can join the green revolution and who are keen to reduce their footprint. The Together for our Planet climate leaders campaign provides just that – guidance and advice to small businesses helping them cut their emissions and encouraging them to sign-up to Race to Zero.”
Small businesses across the UK who make a net zero pledge on the new business climate hub, including those in Wales, will be recognised by the United Nations Race to Zero campaign and will become ‘climate leaders’ – role-modelling and inspiring others to find meaningful ways to take positive environmental action.
With 6 months to go before the UK brings world leaders together for the crucial UN climate change summit COP26 in Glasgow this November, the UK Government will continue to call for action for companies to join the Race to Zero and establish plans to meet their commitments.
Ben Francis, FSB Wales Policy Chair, said:
“Climate change is a huge issue and one that all of us need to play a part in tackling as an immediate priority. We welcome UK Government’s approach to engaging SMEs on this critical issue.
“Wales’ small business community stands behind the ambitions of UK and Welsh Government to achieve Net Zero but there is much work to be done. Businesses need to be empowered and supported in order to play their part in meeting these goals and this creates an important role for governments in Westminster and Cardiff Bay.
“Many SMEs in Wales are already leading the way on making changes and becoming more sustainable, and this campaign is an opportunity to learn from best practice across the country and be ambitious in how we continue to make progress on this vital agenda.
“We look forward to seeing how UK and Welsh Government will work together to provide the support that smaller firms need in order to help meet the UK’s climate goals and look forward to supporting that effort.”
Ashley Rogers, Commercial Director, North Wales Mersey Dee Business Council said:
“Successfully achieving Net Zero for the UK and Wales by 2050 will only be possible with the help and hard work of our SME business community. Many businesses in North Wales have already started on that journey to Net Zero and as extra support for them, it is excellent to see the Together for Our Planet Campaign now focusing on our small businesses.
“We encourage as many businesses as possible in North Wales to sign up to the campaign and take advantage of the tools and resources it offers through the SME Climate Hub.”
Founder Small Business Britain Michelle Ovens CBE said:
“The UK’s small business community can and will play a significant role in combatting climate change. Although individually small, collectively they have a huge impact on the economy, society and local communities. Working together, we can start the journey towards net zero, and Small Business Britain is committed to helping the nation’s businesses get there.”
CEO of the We Mean Business coalition, a founding partner of the SME Climate Hub, María Mendiluce said:
“The SME Climate Hub provides SMEs worldwide with tools and resources to start their net-zero journey by curbing emissions, managing climate-related risks and building business resilience. We are thrilled to be collaborating with the United Kingdom government to galvanize SME climate action across the UK. We hope this strengthens SME competitiveness, resilience and growth. No matter the size, no matter the sector, every business has a role to play.”