Call to action for SMEs ahead of COP26

During the Sustainable Beauty Coalition’s (SBC) inaugural advisory board meeting, members heard from Catherine Westoby – senior policy advisor, public engagement and behaviour change on Net Zero at the department for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) – about the benefits of businesses pledging support to the SME Climate Commitment before COP26.

As Westoby explained, ‘any business can join the Race to Zero and there are various ways in’. But for small to medium-sized companies in the UK, the route in is via the SME Climate Commitment, which sits under the global Race to Zero campaign as the UK’s own domestic drive to engage businesses in the collective goal of achieving Net Zero.

“We’ve got just over 1,800 small businesses in the UK signed up,” she commented, adding that a different strand of the wider initiative focuses on the FTSE100, with ‘over half’ of businesses on that list having already pledged their support. “I think the US is trailing … with around 50 [sign-ups], so that gives you an indication of just how successful we’ve been in terms of getting the message across to small businesses. It’s really exciting to see how much positive feedback we’ve had from businesses already.”

We’re at the forefront of the global stage here – we’re hosting COP, we’ve really got to show that we have the groundswell of support for Net Zero within the UK

“It’s all about the benefits of Net Zero; so how can Net Zero benefit your business, how can you make your business stronger, more resilient, attractive to customers, reduce your costs etcetera, through starting your Net Zero journey? The first step is to obviously make the SME Climate Commitment. That’s our goal ahead of COP26 … to encourage as many small businesses as possible to make the SME Climate Commitment, to start their Net Zero journey. The reason that’s important is that we’re at the forefront of the global stage here – we’re hosting COP, we’ve really got to show that we have the groundswell of support for Net Zero within the UK, because we are very much setting an example. That will then influence policy.”

The landing page for the campaign, which includes advice and resources, can be found here.

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