Business development · 19 November 2021

How can SMEs Achieve the Net-Zero Goals Outlined at COP26?

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, also referred to as COP26, was held in Glasgow at the beginning of November 2021. The conference established new actions to achieve net-zero by mid-century and meet the goals established in the Paris Climate Agreement and the UNFCCC. These goals and agreements may seem far removed from the duties of SMEs, but in fact, the actions of SMEs are crucial to the success of these targets. How can SMEs work towards these goals, and what is required to make these necessary contributions?

What are the main goals established at COP26?

The key message of COP26 is that we need to secure global net-zero by mid-century through both international collaboration and individual actions taken by businesses. Net-zero means that a country or business is capturing at least as much carbon as it emits. Essentially, businesses need to invest in sustainability and efficiency, reducing unnecessary waste and emissions.

Why does this impact SMEs?

SMEs are critical to helping reach COP26 climate emission goals. The UK alone has 6 million SMEs, making up over 99% of all businesses. If SMEs were to ignore the goals outlined in COP26, it would be impossible for them to be met. There are many different avenues SMEs can take to help meet the outlined targets that can also benefit the business itself.

How can SMEs achieve net-zero goals?

There are multiple avenues that SMEs can take to achieve the net-zero goals outlined in COP26. Each business will need individual methods for emission reduction, but there are some steps that all businesses can take to engage with the climate goals. The most common method currently employed by businesses to reach these targets is the reduction of energy use and waste  – this is often through better monitoring systems and data collection, for example, the use of smart sensor technology. Larger companies also have a strong focus on clean energy and carbon reduction.

Form a sustainability strategy

The first step to achieving any long-term business goal is creating a clear strategy. Businesses need to identify their current carbon footprint and where emissions are most concentrated. They should then target each area, examining how emissions and waste can be reduced while sustainability and efficiency are improved. Establish individual goals that are unique to the businesses needs, ensuring that these goals are achievable and measurable so you can track progress. This strategy makes sure that employees, managers, owners, and all other business stakeholders are aware of the steps that are being taken.



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