The UK has 6 million small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – businesses with fewer than 250 employees. 99% of all UK businesses are SMEs, and the vast majority of those are micro-enterprises with fewer than 10 employees. Collectively, SMEs are responsible for 52% of the turnover of UK plc and they employ more than 16.5 million people – a quarter of the total population. SMEs need to be supported in their translation to net zero, otherwise we risk leaving a core component of our economy behind as we turn green.

To ensure SMEs are not left behind or forgotten in this transition, B4NZ currently have two active programmes of works to identify current barriers and challenges and push for feasible yet effective policy options.

1. Project Perseus

Bankers for Net Zero, alongside Icebreaker One, are developing Project Perseus, a pragmatic whole-of-market solution to create rapidly scalable, low-effort, low-friction sustainability reporting. This aims to help unlock access to capital by automating GHG reporting for every SME in the country.

2. SME Advisory Group for the Transition Plan Taskforce

The Advisory Group to the Transition Plan Taskforce, was set up in July 2023 to consider proportionate sustainability reporting and transition planning activities for SMEs. 

Recommendations made have fed into our paper ‘Considerations on SMEs and Transition Plans’, published as part of the TPTs final set of transition plan resources, considers the challenges and opportunities of transition plans for SMEs and how future guidance can be developed to allow small businesses to effectively communicate their climate action plans and champion progress towards a climate-resilient future. 

3. Net Zero Council 

Upon invitation from Minister Graham Stuart, B4NZ are supporting the delivery of the SME workstream for the Net Zero Council, within the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. This will focus on developing sector specific decarbonisation roadmaps to support SME access to green finance in different real economy sectors, alongside the development of regulatory and non-regulatory recommendations.