Bee Net Zero

Two-thirds of UK SMEs have already started their journey to net zero, is it time you joined them?

  • Friday, December 9, 2022
  • Posted By The Growth Company

New research by Lloyds Bank has identified the top activities being undertaken by UK SMEs to achieve their net zero targets, with the vast majority of companies now taking action or planning to do so. 


According to a survey of financial decision-makers in SMEs across the UK, 64% say they have either a strategy in place to reach net zero emissions by 2050 or have already started the planning process. 


 Lloyds Bank asked over 1,000 SMEs with at least ten employees a series of questions, including their general perceptions on sustainability, awareness of the government’s 2050 net zero targets, their progress towards net zero, and their perceived benefits and barriers to achieving it.  


 The results show that climate action remains on the agenda for a significant majority of businesses despite difficult economic conditions, with 93% of businesses saying sustainability challenges are important to them and 83% saying it has become more important in the past 12 months.  


Just 5% of the businesses surveyed said they were not considering or taking any action towards net zero. 


The research splits SMEs into different stages to establish a baseline of where they are in their net zero journeys: 

  • 9% recognise the importance of net zero and are getting started by considering, researching and planning steps they can take
  • 15% are focusing on short-term wins and employee engagement but are yet to start measuring their greenhouse gas emissions
  • 28% have begun the process of measuring their emissions and are planning for how to reach net zero
  • 36% have measured their emissions and have a plan in place to reach net zero
  • 7% say they have already achieved net zero 

The top three activities currently being undertaken by SMEs to meet net-zero targets are:

  • Recycling and reducing waste 62%
  • Reducing energy consumption 60%
  • Sourcing renewable energy 37% 

When asked about the action that was having the most impact in achieving their net zero targets, businesses said that reducing energy consumption was their most impactful action (38%), closely followed by recycling and reducing waste (37%).


 Elyn Corfield, CEO of Lloyds Bank Business & Commercial Banking, said: “The progress SMEs are making on their net zero journeys is crucial to enabling us all to reach the 2050 target, and their dedication to the task, especially given the range of competing priorities they face every day, is to be admired. 

 “That growing awareness leading to increased action is exactly the path we need to take. The survey also encouragingly highlights net zero ’heroes’, companies which can act as champions for all businesses on their road to net zero, share knowledge, and pave the way for a growing number of SMEs to reach their sustainability targets.” 


To learn more about how your Greater Manchester SME can begin the journey to net zero contact the Bee Net Zero team.

For sector specific guidance on reducing carbon emissions, view our guides from Bee Net Zero Partner, the GC Business Growth Hub.

Bee Net Zero offers free, impartial advice to Greater Manchester SMEs at all stages of thier net zero journey. From helping you to set realistic targets to offering guidance around installing energy efficiency measures or onsite renewables, experts in the Bee Net Zero partnership are on hand to offer support on all aspects on the net zero transition.

As well as reducing your carbon footprint, investing in energy efficiency is proven to reduce energy bills by 18% - 25%. With the government's Energy Bill Relief Scheme ending on March 31 2023, SMEs need to act now to try and reduce energy consumption before next spring. Contact our team to find out how the Bee Net Zero partnership can help.