New research by The Carbon Trust has revealed that lack of time and expertise to measure and reduce their carbon emissions is preventing the UK’s small and medium businesses from achieving business energy savings.
While 63% of SME senior managers and directors surveyed realised they could reduce their carbon emissions through low- and no-cost energy-saving measures, more than two-thirds (69%) said their business had made no investment to reduce carbon emissions. Almost all (93%) of respondents said their company did not measure carbon emissions - citing lack of expertise as the key barrier.
In response, it is launching an Energy Efficiency Loans campaign, which urges businesses to take action now and apply for an interest-free loan to replace or upgrade existing equipment to more energy-efficient versions. This year, The Carbon Trust has committed nearly £27 million to its Energy Efficiency Loans (EEL) scheme, almost double the amount available last year, to help SMEs reduce carbon emissions and cut costs.
Michael Rea, Carbon Trust chief operating officer says this new research highlights the increasing awareness among SMEs of both the need to take action on climate change and the bottom-line opportunities available through making low-cost changes to their business. He says: "SMEs account for around 20% of the country’s overall emissions, so it is essential they are supported to act on climate change. We are significantly increasing our interest-free loans pool to help more businesses invest in new energy-efficient equipment, save money and cut their carbon footprint. We have also launched a range of new online tools, designed with SMEs in mind, to help them reduce their carbon emissions and cut costs."
The findings mirror the Federation of Small Business’ own research - that lack of resources and awareness remains a barrier to small businesses. "They know they have to do something, but are unclear about the next steps," says John Holbrow, FSB environment and energy policy chairman.
SMEs in England and Scotland or all businesses in Wales that have been trading for at least 12 months, could borrow from £5,000 to £100,000. Northern Ireland firms that have been trading for at least 12 months may be eligible to apply for an unsecured interest-free loan of up to £400,000.
l For information visit: [http://www.carbontrust.co.uk/loans] or [http://www.carbontrust.co.uk/SME].