Three quarters of SMEs believe their actions impact climate change

Three quarters of SME senior decision makers in the UK and Ireland believe their business can help tackle climate change, according to Close Brothers Business Barometer research.

In total, one third (30%) of small and medium sized enterprises say that their actions have a significant effect on climate change, while a further two fifths (44%) say they have some impact. In comparison, 26% say their actions cannot influence the environmental issue.

The likelihood of SMEs believing that they cannot make a difference to the climate crisis correlates with company size. Two fifths (41%) of the smallest businesses, with 10 employees or less, say their actions do not have an impact, whereas 17% of larger SMEs, with more than 250 members of staff, think the same.

Despite this differing sense of empowerment, 94% of SMEs say they have policies in place to reduce their impact on the environment. The most popular steps small and medium sized companies are taking to help tackle climate change include recycling (59%), being energy efficient (46%), and going paperless (31%).

Similarly, many think they will be able to reduce their carbon footprint significantly by 2050. At the top end, 35% believe they will become completely carbon neutral and 22% estimate they can reach 75% carbon offset. However, a further 20% say reducing carbon emissions is not a priority for them and expect to counterbalance less than a quarter of the carbon dioxide they release.

David Thomson, CEO of Close Brothers Invoice and Speciality Finance, said: “Climate change is now a prevalent concern for everyone, and we must all adapt to reduce the impact we have on the environment. For many businesses, resulting changes will present both challenges and opportunities.

“Companies that implement policies which address climate change now are most likely to meet environmental targets and thrive in the future. It is therefore positive to see that many SMEs are already taking steps to help.”