Amazon calls on UK Government to make net-zero ‘resource hub’ for SMEs

More than 90% of the businesses in the UK are SMEs

The two companies have unveiled their call to action following feedback from more than 40 UK SMEs, academics and industry bodies. The companies claim that a Net-Zero Resource Hub is needed to enable key parts of the UK workforce to set and act toward net-zero targets.

Amazon’s UK Country Manager John Boumphrey said: “We remain laser-focused on reaching net zero carbon by 2040 across our business, but we also have an opportunity and responsibility to lead by example, and encourage partners, such as the small business community – many of who sell on Amazon, or use our products and services – to address the climate crisis and solve the challenges of decarbonising our economy.

“With Planet Mark we want to help small and medium-sized enterprises overcome and understand some of the barriers they face in their net zero journeys, including better access to information and a clearer roadmap for progress.”

The two companies claim that the Hub should be part of a nationwide campaign to raise awareness across the UK on the role that smaller firms can play in helping to reach net-zero.

The Hub would need to include clear and searchable guidance for SMEs while also giving smaller firms are collective voice to help shape green policy moving forward.

Amazon and Planet Mark are also calling on the Government to deliver financial incentives for SMEs, which in turn would help them plan and invest in decarbonisation plans. The companies claim that upfront grants and green tax incentives would help.

SME transition

More than 90% of businesses in the UK are SMEs and these organisations employ the majority of the UK’s workforce. SMEs are also accountable for around half of the nation’s non-domestic emissions. This means they have a crucial role to play in the net-zero transition, but they face challenges including resource, funding and skills constraints. Moreover, SMEs are excluded from some collective business net-zero initiatives; for example, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) does not verify businesses under a certain size.

The Skidmore Net-Zero Review recommends the launch of a ‘Help to Grow Green’ campaign for SMEs by 2024. The campaign should be a one-stop-shop for support in accessing Government grant and loan schemes and practical information on key topics.

Additionally recommended is the creation of a new mentoring scheme for micro-businesses and the self-employed this year. This could be expanded in time, but there is a recognition that the smallest businesses will struggle the most with resources and finance – especially amid the current cost-of-living crisis. A recent poll of more than 1,000 decision-makers at British SMEs found that four In ten believe they do not have sufficient financial resources to decarbonise, with the proportion being higher among the smallest firms.

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