HR & Management

Carbon management drops on priority list of SMEs

2 min read

08 March 2013

Trying to boost business growth, SMEs are losing focus on managing their carbon footprint.

Small business owners have a lack of understanding when it comes to the benefits of carbon management for business, according to AXA Business Insurance’s new survey, which questioned over 500 UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Nearly half of respondents deemed green issues to be important to their business. However, almost as many did not recognise their importance at all.

Results revealed that a substantial 56 per cent of firms did not believe that improving their carbon footprint would help them grow their business. This stands in stark contrast to the 96 per cent of FTSE 100 listed companies trying to demonstrate the importance of being placed on environmental sustainability by large businesses in the UK. This increasing pressure will push down through small businesses in their supply chains.

Douglas Barnett, head of customer risk management at AXA, commented: “Our research goes to show that whilst environmental credentials are evidently important for businesses, there is still a lack of understanding when it comes to how they can harness carbon management action to help support their business. We are aiming to help guide small businesses in the process to measure and reduce their carbon footprint. This will enable them to realise the business advantages which can be achieved through carbon neutrality.”

The introduction of Mandatory Carbon Reporting (MCR) this April is set to propel environmental sustainability further up the corporate agenda. It will be made compulsory for companies on the London Stock Exchange to report their levels of greenhouse gas emissions in their annual reports. 

MCR will build a domino effect for SMEs, as larger firms place increased focus on reducing emissions in their supply chain. This makes it the optimum time for UK SMEs to meet customer demand for action on carbon management, differentiate from their competitors and build a strong environmental profile.

According to Oliver Crouch, head of strategic development at CarbonNeutral: “With legislation putting a focus on measuring and reporting carbon emissions throughout the value chain, and the cost of running buildings and travel programmes rising, carbon management is no longer a luxury but a business necessity.”