Small Businesses and Net Zero

Small Businesses And Net Zero

How can small businesses and manufacturers contribute to net zero


As the world grapples with the growing challenges of climate change, the call for collective climate action has never been more necessary. With a renewed political focus on reducing greenhouse gases and carbon emissions, the UK government has committed to a target of net zero emissions by 2050.

Net zero refers to a condition in which the volume of carbon emissions emitted released into the environment by humans is counteracted by extracting an equivalent quantity from the atmosphere. 

The manufacturing industry is one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions in the whole of the world, so it’s vital that businesses take action to help reduce their impact. It’s the actions of small businesses that are pivotal for change, as these are often a major source of emissions in the UK.

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the ways small businesses and manufacturers can reduce their carbon emissions in a bid to reach net zero.

Electric and hybrid vehicle integration

Transitioning to vehicles that are cleaner for the environment can significantly reduce transport-related emissions. Incorporating electric vehicles into company fleets or providing charging infrastructure for employees can encourage the adoption of clean transport alternatives.

If you’re not quite ready to fully embrace the switch to electric vehicles, you can opt for hybrid models instead. For example, the Hyundai Tucson is available as a plug-in hybrid model, meaning it still has a combustion engine but is more fuel-efficient than conventional cars. This is due to the vehicle having an electric motor that assists the engine.

The growing availability of electric and hybrid cars presents an opportunity for businesses to help create a low-carbon future, particularly since transport is one of the largest contributors to climate change.

Sustainable supply chain management

Working with suppliers who promote and adhere to sustainable practices is great for improving your business’s carbon footprint. Practices to look out for include environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes, a reduction in packaging waste, and minimal transport emissions. The latter can be further diminished by sourcing locally.

Try to use recyclable materials where possible, which will help to reduce the need to extract raw materials from the environment. Even better, try to reuse or repurpose as much as possible, as recycling still requires energy and transport.

Use digital manufacturing to your advantage

Manufacturers have access to unparalleled technological resources that can be harnessed to create superior products and reduce waste. For example, Internet of Things (IoT) applications are capable of monitoring a product’s real-world performance and transmitting the data back to the manufacturer.

This accelerated feedback loop allows for swift detection and rectification of recurring issues, ultimately leading to a sizeable reduction in waste.

The use of renewable energy sources

Shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is one of the more significant steps a business can take to reduce its carbon emissions. Businesses can easily invest in on-site renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. This not only can lower the carbon footprint of your company but also may insulate the business from any increases in the cost of energy.