2022: The good, the bad and the forward-thinking.
by Neil Ross Russell, Founder of Net Zero Now
2022 has been a challenging year for the British economy with the impact of the Ukraine war, energy price shocks and global inflation rocketing. While COP26 and more recently COP27 in Egypt put climate change front and centre and commanded global focus and co-operation, it came against a tapestry of economic objections.
Energy was still on the agenda, but the focus of concern switched from its climate changing potential to security and prices; the latter spiralling to drive domestic cost-of-living crises and diverting governments across Europe to the very real and immediate needs of their citizens and businesses of all sizes.
While all SMEs had, and continue, to face these pressing issues of today, many are approaching tomorrow with the same innovation that they bring to the British economy.
2022 saw a groundswell of interest among SMEs in the sector-specific solutions we have developed to help them move towards Net Zero. We’ve partnered with industry bodies across a diverse range of sectors to agree new standardised approaches for measuring, reporting, reducing and compensating for GHG emissions in each sector. What this means is that each sector has a bespoke pathway to Net Zero that is tailored to its impacts, inherent challenges and opportunities.
By the end of 2022, our work will have delivered industry-endorsed and tailored Net Zero Initiative schemes for more than half a million SMEs, including
- Bars & Pubs in UK & France
- Restaurants in UK & France
- Accounting Practices
- Tech firms
With a focus in the first half of 2023 on sectors including
- Law firms
- Hair Salons
- Financial Advisors
Working with SMEs in these sectors we’ve so far measured over 430,000 tonnes of CO2e across 2,000+ different sites and, with new protocols in the pipeline, we’re looking forward to helping many more small businesses realise their Net Zero journey.
To 2023, and beyond!
More businesses are coming around to the idea that there is sustainable advantage in moving towards Net Zero. Alongside the cost-saving benefits a Net Zero approach can deliver, SMEs are increasingly under pressure from their stakeholders to measure, report and reduce their emissions.
Savvy consumers are considering the climate impact of their purchasing; many larger companies
who are required to report emissions increasingly expect their suppliers to provide them with emissions data; more employees, particularly younger talent, want to work for businesses that share their values; investors are under pressure to measure and report emissions from their portfolio businesses, whilst huge amounts of capital are only available to climate positive businesses; and the requirements placed on larger businesses through Government drip through their value chains to impact many more businesses.
More and more businesses are recognising the need to pursue Net Zero, with stakeholder expectations certainly helping to drive this. As the numbers joining the race to Net Zero grow, the need for clear guidelines becomes ever more important.
The protocols Net Zero Now has designed and delivered with industry leading partners are intended to do just this. The ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions provide SMEs with clear guidelines that are tailored to their sector. They allow any SME, regardless of the level of knowledge they have about emissions and climate change, to get on board and make a difference.
In a year when another COP came and went with little progress, an army of forward-thinking SMEs began their Net Zero journeys. A business-led Net Zero revolution has started, and Net Zero Now is delighted to be guides, supporters and champions for these brilliant entrepreneurs and for the many more we hope will join in 2023.
Get in touch to start your Net Zero journey, www.netzeronow.org.