// EDITOR ’ S QUESTION ?
EMILY FAINT , NET ZERO POLICY MANAGER , BSI
A ccounting for 99 % of UK businesses , SMEs form the critical mass of companies that can accelerate change and shape the economy ’ s net zero transition . Research we commissioned last year found that only 21 % of SMEs were fully aware of the concept of net zero targets . However , a further 37 % were beginning to explore what this means , indicating an opportunity to turn ambition into action .
The ISO Net Zero Guidelines were developed to provide organisations with a comprehensive overview of credible net zero action and bring clarity to what to consider in practice , supporting them to reduce their risk of greenwashing . To help SMEs that are just getting started , the net zero journey can be broken down into six steps :
See where you stand
Measure your organisation ’ s emissions , ensuring you account for all greenhouse gases and all three scopes of emissions . Scope 1 covers direct emissions , the second covers those that come indirectly from the generation of purchased electricity , steam , heating and cooling , and the third includes other indirect emissions that occur in an organisation ’ s value chain .
Set a science-based target
Once you have a clearer understanding of how much you must reduce by , and by when , it can be helpful to include interim targets – at least every five years – to help your organisation stay on track and implement necessary measures .
Make a simple , public commitment to cut emissions in line with your target and share your progress . You can also map out key roles and responsibilities in your organisation for collaborating to deliver on this commitment . UK companies can sign up with the SME Climate Hub .
Reducing your company ’ s emissions is the most important step you can take on your net zero journey . Among the practical actions SMEs are taking are :
• Collaborating with your suppliers
• Minimising waste from your products and packaging
• Installing a smart meter to reduce energy usage
• Adjusting heating and cooling system timings , temperatures and rooms
• Installing renewable energy electricity or heating
For residual emissions ( approx . 5 – 10 % of your remaining emissions that are difficult to reduce ), organisations can purchase highquality credits for removal-based offsets . These offsets remove emissions from the atmosphere and store them .
Report your emissions
It is helpful to share progress transparently and on an annual basis , reporting emissions reductions separately from any offsets purchased . This should also be captured in your annual report .
Verify your reporting
For accuracy and transparency and to reduce risk of greenwashing , make sure that the data you report is verified by a third-party . The Carbon Disclosure Project sets out the verification standards it accepts for verified emissions data in reporting . �
MAKE A SIMPLE , PUBLIC COMMITMENT TO CUT EMISSIONS IN LINE WITH YOUR TARGET AND SHARE YOUR PROGRESS .
Intelligent SME . tech