Carbon footprint ignored by 89% of British businesses

New research reveals 22% of companies do not even know the meaning of ‘net zero’

Net Hero Podcast

Nearly 90% of businesses in the UK are not measuring their carbon footprint.

That is the key finding from research by the British Chambers of Commerce and O2, which surveyed more than 1,000 UK businesses.

For microbusinesses, which have less than ten employees, this figure is even worse, with 95% not tracking their carbon emissions.

The study also revealed that only 13% of UK businesses have set targets to reduce their emissions, which is a drop since before the pandemic, when this figure sat at 21%. This was coupled with the fact 22% of businesses are not sure what the term ‘net zero’ means.

The research has pointed towards a lack of finance and access to grants stopping smaller businesses from tracking their carbon footprint. However, a lack of understanding can also not be underestimated, as a third of surveyed businesses said they look for advice for net zero online.

Although most businesses are failing to keep an eye on their carbon footprint, the report did suggest positive action was being taken.

Across the next year, 54% of businesses surveyed stated they were planning to reduce their consumption of paper, food and plastics, with 40% looking to reduce their energy usage from office spaces. Around 80% of these businesses cited environmental factors as the reason for this, however 59% did admit this was being done primarily to cut costs.

Shevaun Haviland, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce, said: “This research is a real eye-opener and shows just how big a challenge the UK’s net zero target is.

“The dual impacts of the pandemic and Brexit have been a huge body-blow to many businesses, so it is unsurprising that targeting emissions has taken a back seat. But change has to come.

“The climate challenge is one that affects every single one of us and business has a big part to play in tackling it but the government must also recognise that smaller firms will need access to grants, subsidies and other financial support to help them take effective steps on the journey to a greener future.”