SMEs lack time for carbon saving

Smaller businesses are not reducing their carbon emissions and taking advantage of energy savings because of a lack of time and expertise.

New research published by the Carbon Trust said small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are missing out on a share of £3billion-worth of energy savings.

The Carbon Trust has now launched an Energy Efficiency Loans campaign to make more businesses aware of its interest-free loans scheme.

The research showed that 63% of SME senior managers and directors realised they could reduce their carbon emissions but more than two-thirds said their business had not invested in reducing emissions.

A staggering 93% of respondents said their company did not measure carbon emissions - citing lack of expertise as the key barrier.

Nearly a quarter of businesses believed they would only save between 1% and 4% on energy bills, when the average figure is actually 10%.

Michael Rea, the Carbon Trust's chief operating officer, said: "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."

John Holbrow, environment and energy policy chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: "The findings from the Carbon Trust research mirror the FSB's own research into these issues and we would agree that lack of resources and awareness remains a barrier to small businesses exploring ways to mitigate rising energy costs.

"They know they have to do something but are unclear about the next steps."

The Carbon Trust has committed nearly £27million to its Energy Efficiency Loans scheme this year - almost double the amount available last year.

In 2006-07, the company handed out £18million to help small businesses realise annual savings of almost £7million on energy bills and 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Kate Martin



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