Move towards net zero
Find ways for your business to save money and make the most out of getting to net zero.
Step 1: Measure your carbon emissions
Calculate the carbon footprint of your organisation in line with scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions as required.
Step 2: Target setting
Set realistic targets to reduce your footprint over time, and commit towards achieving net zero by 2050.
Step 3: Reduce emissions
Create carbon management plans tailored to help achieve specific carbon reduction targets, with inclusion of recommended improvement areas. These plans can be created to comply with Procurement Policy Note 06/21 for organisations bidding for government contracts.
You can also procure high-quality, third party verified 'carbon offsets' to use alongside reductions in emissions as part of your carbon management strategy, with certification of carbon neutrality. Typically, offsets will involve a reduction in GHG emissions or an increase in carbon storage through land restoration or the planting of trees, which is used to compensate for emissions that occur elsewhere. Businesses receive 'carbon credits' certified by the Government or other authorised bodies.
How to begin?
The Carbon Trust provides a free online SME carbon calculator.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has a small business user guide that includes guidance on how to measure and report your greenhouse gas emissions.
The following organisations are private consultancies and can also provide this service for you:
- Carbon Trust
- CDP partners
- Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP)
- Energy Saving Trust
- Anthesis Group
- WS Group
You can also use Zero Carbon Business UK to identify your sector and location, as well as get a plan of action to help you get started. This will also show you what support is available in your area and across your industry sector.
Funded Support Programmes:
Ashfield Accelerator Project: Decarbonisation Audit
This is being delivered by East Midlands Chamber and is funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). It forms part of Ashfield District Council's new Accelerator Programme and offers support to sole traders, micro, and small and medium-sized enterprises with reducing their energy costs. Local enterprises from all sectors can work with specialist consultants who will identify their carbon footprints, and develop a practical action plan for how energy improvement measures can be implemented.
**In addition to this, any sole traders, micro or small-sized enterprises (employing 49 or less staff members) can also access a capital grant of up to £3000, to implement eligible energy improvement measures as shown in their audit action plans.
- closes: 31 March 2025
- website: Ashfield Accelerator Project
Get help with carbon reduction and off-setting
CarbonFootprint.com can help businesses with sourcing suitable offset projects to help reduce your emissions. These projects also provide wider benefits in addition to carbon reduction, such as biodiversity, education, jobs, food security, and heath and wellbeing in developing countries.
- website: Carbon footprint - Carbon offset
South Pole develops and implements comprehensive offsetting strategies that turn climate action into long-term business opportunities for companies, governments, and organisations around the world.
- website: South Pole - Climate action credits
Promoting sustainable performance
The University of Derby has developed a business health check tool that's specifically designed for small organisations across the D2N2 area. It's a free resource that can help you work out how well your business is performing compared to others and what you can do to improve this.
The Net Zero innovation network
This is a collaborative network with a range of free resources and events for small or medium-size manufacturers wanting to focus on sustainability.
- website: Net Zero Innovation Network
The Zellar Platform
This is an online platform that can help businesses to calculate and manage their carbon footprints, measure performance, create decarbonisation plans, and ultimately reduce their energy bills. There are a total of 400 one-year Zellar sustainability platform licenses (worth up to £600 each) on offer from the East Midland's Chamber of Commerce to businesses in Nottingham, Leicester, Mansfield, Bassetlaw, Newark and Sherwood, Derbyshire Dales, and the High Peak.
- website: The Zellar Platform
Severn Trent water audit
Businesses can sign up for a free water audit to help detect and resolve issues that could be costing the business money. Severn Trent will also monitor your current water usage and provide personalised water saving advice, tailored to your business. It can fit water saving devices, replace any old fixtures and fittings, and identify opportunities to fix leaks, all for free. Less water wasted and less energy used will also help reduce your carbon footprint.
Business Energy Aid Toolkit (BEAT)
This toolkit provides SME manufacturers with easy access to experts and equipment, helping you make significant reductions to your energy usage in short time frames.
Support includes areas such as:
- Data-driven insights into your energy usage
- Help to identify production planning improvements
- Pinpointing cost-saving measures
- Discovering opportunities to reduce your carbon footprint and work towards net zero
- Expertise from a team of specialists.
- website: University of Warwick - Business Energy Aid Toolkit (BEAT)
EV Infrastructure Grant
The EV infrastructure grant for staff and fleets is for small to medium-sized businesses in the UK. This grant will cover up to 75% of the cost of installing the infrastructure needed for charge points to operate and for future charge points to be installed, as well as the cost of any charge points installed. There is a limit of £15,000 per grant.
You can get up to:
- £350 per charge point socket installed
- £500 per parking space enabled with supporting infrastructure.
To be eligible you must also be a UK-registered company, charity or public sector with a company registration number or VAT number. The grant can only be used to retrofit existing properties. It cannot be used for buildings under construction, and your car park must have a minimum of 5 clearly marked, off-street parking spaces. Your installer will claim the grant on your behalf. The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) provides this grant.
- website: Office for Zero Emission Vehicles
Business information electric vehicles (EV) hub
This is an online platform that provides lots of information, including grants on all aspects of electric vehicles. Whether you are looking for an electric van for your business, need help with HGVs, or advice with understanding HMRC electric mileage rates - this platform can help.
- website: Business information EV hub
- website: Electric vehicle grants
- website: Getting an electric van for your business
Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF)
This fund supports the development and deployment of technologies that enable businesses with high energy use to transition to a low carbon future. It is a competition fund managed by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. There have been 2 successful phases so far and a third new phase worth £185 million that is being launched in 2023. At the moment, this is open for consultation on what the final design of phase 3 will be, which closed on 21 July 2023.
- website: Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF)
- website: Future of the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund
Apply for the exemption or compensation scheme certificate
The government has developed an exemption scheme providing relief to some Energy Intensive Industries (EIIs) whose competitiveness may be most at risk, for a proportion of the indirect costs of funding low carbon schemes. Please read the CFD, RO and FIT guidance information that explains the key requirements in determining whether a business is eligible for an EII certificate.
The energy bills discount scheme
The energy bills discount scheme will support eligible businesses and organisations that have a non-domestic contract with a licensed energy supplier and heat network suppliers. Organisations can apply for this if at least 50% of its revenue is generated from UK-based activity within eligible standard industrial classification (SIC) code sectors. The discount itself will apply to 70% of your energy volumes, but you must have a non-domestic contract with a licensed energy supplier.
- website: Energy bills discount scheme
Find more help on these websites:
- website: Green Finance institute - HIVE
- website: EMCC: Sustainable East Midlands funded support programmes
- website: D2N2: Low carbon support opportunities
- website: Innovate UK KTN - Net zero funding opportunities
- website: SME Climate Hub
- website: Enterprise Nation - sector specific guide
- website: Supply chain sustainability school
- website: Zero Carbon Business UK
- website: Federation of Small Businesses sustainability resources and videos
- website: The sustainable business toolkit
- Website: Net Zero Innovation Network
Page last updated: 19 February 2024