Last reviewed 3 August 2022

Micro-business owners do not believe they can have a positive impact on the UK’s targets for a net-zero economy, research finds.

The research carried out by Start Up Loans, part of the British Business Bank, finds 67% of micro-businesses have never sought information on how to reduce their carbon footprint, but most would value help in how carbon management would help reduce business costs.

Richard Bearman, Managing Director of Start-Up Loans, said micro businesses can make a real difference to net zero targets, but need more support.

“The UK’s start up and micro-business community has enormous potential to contribute towards our national net-zero agenda and it’s clear that there is a job to be done in helping many to understand how important they are to that crucial process. This is especially true amid a backdrop of continued economic turbulence and rising operational costs, which is putting unprecedented pressure on smaller businesses.

The UK has over five million micro-businesses, including many thousands of start-ups. The survey of micro-business owners found:

  • 40% (2.1 million) don’t believe reducing their own emissions will make a difference

  • 50% (2.7 million) find the language, terminology and information around sustainability inaccessible, 78% don’t fully understand the term net-zero and 72% don’t fully understand the term carbon neutral

  • 67% (3.5 million) have never sought information on how to reduce their carbon footprint and 46% (2.4 million) don’t know where to go for information.

Crucially, the research also revealed that 50% (2.65 million) of micro businesses would value information to help them assess whether reducing carbon impact would make financial sense for their business.

In response, the British Business Bank has launched a number of online services to alert all SMEs to the commercial benefits of investing in decarbonisation. Resources also include a new Green Decoder, co-created with Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University, to help demystify net zero jargon.

Further information and guidance on carbon management and footprinting is available on Croner-i here.