AEMT - Association of Electrical and Mechanical Trades

29 April 2022
Smaller Businesses Don't Understand 'Carbon Jargon', Research Reveals
Almost three in four (74%) smaller businesses don’t understand how the term ‘net-zero’ applies to them.

According to new research commissioned by the British Business Bank, the majority of smaller businesses in the UK don’t understand how common environmental terms such as ‘net zero’, ‘carbon neutral’ and ‘carbon footprint’ apply to their businesses.

The Opinium survey of 1,000 senior decisionmakers in smaller businesses found that more than half (54%) believe the language, terminology, and information around reducing carbon emissions is overcomplex.

Over three-in-five (61%) say they would find more information and advice about taking action to measure and reduce their business’ carbon emissions helpful, with over half (53%) of those wanting advice on measuring their business’ carbon footprint and a similar proportion (51%) wanting information to help work out if reducing carbon emissions makes financial sense for their business.

Nearly half (44%) of those surveyed don’t know where to get information on reducing their carbon emissions and how best to approach related commercial or financial opportunities.

The British Business Bank’s recently launched #GreenToGrow campaign aims to demystify and alert smaller businesses to the commercial benefits of investing in decarbonisation. Resources include a new ‘Green Decoder’, an online guide co-created with Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University to help smaller businesses decipher the terminology surrounding decarbonisation.

The British Business Bank’s online Finance Hub also provides a series of guides and information about sustainability issues and how smaller businesses can start their journey towards net zero.

Terms often misunderstood by businesses include:

1. Greenhouse gas emissions

2. Decarbonisation

3. Net-zero

4. Carbon neutral

5. Carbon footprint

Shanika Amarasekara, Chief Impact Officer at British Business Bank, said: “Smaller businesses are far too often put off by the over-complex ‘carbon jargon’ that comes with reducing emissions. By helping decipher some of the terminology around decarbonisation, the British Business Bank hopes to show smaller businesses that simple, incremental changes, such as switching off equipment when not in use, can make a difference in their net-zero transition.

“This will become an increasingly important businesses requirement. Given that many consumers now consider sustainability when they make a purchase, by becoming greener, smaller businesses can enhance their competitive edge and expand their customer base.”

Dr Muhammad Mazhar, Senior Lecturer in Sustainability, Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University, commented: “Smaller businesses are key to our economy and have a significant carbon emissions impact. They can act as agents for change to meet the UK government’s netzero targets. Most smaller businesses are at the initial stage of their carbon management journey and will benefit from the support provided through the British Business Bank’s #GreenToGrow campaign. Smaller businesses have been overlooked in the past, and this is changing. The business case for carbon management is stronger than ever, and smaller businesses have an opportunity to act now to remain competitive.

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News: Smaller Businesses Don't Understand 'Carbon Jargon', Research Reveals