Last reviewed 10 January 2022

Just 29% of UK businesses have a strategy for reaching carbon net zero, according to a recent YouGov survey.

The survey, commissioned by Veolia, polled over 1000 senior business decision-makers, covering both large and small firms. 

Of those surveyed, around 52% of the larger companies surveyed (those with more than 250 employees), have a net zero strategy. Of these, environmental concern was the biggest driver (72%), while 61% said that their reputation would be negatively affected if they failed to commit to achieving their carbon targets.

Gavin Graveson, Senior Executive Vice President Veolia Northern Europe Zone, said he recognised that some firms, (over 40%): “may feel overwhelmed by the steps they need to take to reach carbon neutral but every step businesses take makes a difference to our planet, protecting it for future generations”.

Despite low numbers committing to a carbon net zero strategy, the survey found nearly 56% of those businesses with a net zero strategy had set a budget for their carbon strategy, and 80% of those say they are very confident of achieving their goals. Around 40% of UK businesses surveyed are currently employing third parties for carbon offsetting practices.

In terms of Government support for businesses, 40% of respondents said that more investment was the most important driver, while 39% said they needed clearer government legislation to direct net zero strategies. 12% said they did not need any external support.

“We need to see more industries commit to a robust strategy to reduce their environmental impact, whether that be through use of electric vehicles, cleaner energy supplies or reduced packaging,” Graveson added.

“In the wake of COP26, we need to work together, share expertise, innovate and research new sustainable solutions so carbon net zero can become a reality, rather than a goal”.