With a deal being reached at COP26 over the weekend, and a target to limit temperature raises to 1.5°C, what can SMEs do to help contribute to this?
While the top 100 companies are responsible for 71% of emissions worldwide, small behavioural changes not only show inclination to the market leaders, but allows our climate guilt to reduce.
Multinational polluters may try and shift some of the carbon blame onto the everyday consumer and SME in order to greenwash. While this is the case, SMEs and individuals can still make small changes to help contribute to the cause and show sustainability.
The Great Car Switch Debate
For those living in places with limited public transport or with longer commutes, or even people who need to deliver parcels, a car is a necessity, allowing people to connect with other communities and access amenities. However, with the amount of extra emissions each individual car generates, the petrochemicals industry and growing pressure to switch to EVs, the great car switch debate has begun.
This isn’t McLaren vs Ferrari, or Ford vs VW but instead, the switch to EV, and how quickly it needs to happen. Similarly, when we had the popularisation of diesel, the same debate happened. However, this time round it’s not another by-product of oil, it’s a completely new technology altogether.
Strategize your Switch
When moving your company cars to an EV fleet, it pays to be strategic. With electric company car Benefit in Kind (BiK) rate frozen at 2% until 2025 at least, it makes sense to switch over the next few years. This way, the yearly saving of reduced tax rates to both the business and the driver will enable more EVs to be put on the road.
Key points to strategize your switch to EV:
- If you are on existing finance deals, as each finance deal expires, consider changing it to an EV
- Provide assistance, both financial and practical, to employees with creating charging points at homes for those who don’t already have one
- Create a charging point hub at your workplace, or work with your property owner to do so
- Focus on those who commute furthest first, as the savings on petrol and diesel will be felt most by them
- If you are based in London, look at reserving EVs for commuting around the city as you don’t have to pay the congestion charge with an EV (until 2025).
- Get a bespoke insurance quote for your blended fleet, which takes into account the different types of car, and provides a more competitive price
Approaching remote worker switch
For the modern company, where many workers may be remote or hybrid, incentivising the uptake of EVs is trickier to manage.
However, there are some methods you can utilise to help encourage the uptake. If your remote workers aren’t utilising company car insurance, then you may want to offer to pay for a portion of their insurance if they choose to get an EV. EV car insurance can be expensive if you use a high street insurer, so make it as efficient as possible by using a bespoke EV insurer, who can tailor the quote to you.
You could also offer to pay for the installation of a charging point at that home.
Or for remote workers that don’t drive regularly, you could provide with them a public transport bursary to encourage sustainable transport choices.
There are many ways to approach this with remote workers but focusing on the employee and their needs is a long-term sustainable decision.
Green finance for your EVs
While using an EV is a great way to begin your sustainability journey, it’s important to consider all facets with this. For example, if your lending provider is gaining money from oil or petrochemical industries, then you would be cancelling out the benefit of you using an EV.
Therefore, it’s important to find a finance provider that can not only provide a good deal, but one that invests in green or sustainable industries. As the government begins to regulate this through goals set at COP26, it’s important to show user behaviour by switching to banks that have committed to green finance.
As this commitment from finance holders has only just happened, this situation will develop over the coming months and years. In Europe, the European Commission has begun to regulate what ‘sustainable’ investments count as, including ruling out hybrid vehicle creation as sustainable from 2025, as they still emit carbon dioxide.
The barriers to EV uptake in business
For many businesses, the biggest struggle will come from workers who don’t have at home charging capabilities. Similarly, the upfront cost of the car alone may be off putting for SMEs or businesses with lower profit margins.
And for some forward planning businesses, they may realise that EVs might not be the answer, and that the EV market is a plaster on the wound of climate change.
But overcoming these issues requires a green mind, and one that focuses on long term behavioural changes. For SMEs, consider:
- Trialling out an EV fleet for your long-distance commuters
- Choose a finance deal that invests in green industries
- Installing a charging point at your office, or working with the landlord to do so