Small businesses sceptical of cutting carbon footprint

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Two million “micro-business” owners do not believe they can have a positive impact on targets for a net zero economy, research suggests.

The survey found that 40 per cent of Britain’s 5.3 million micro-businesses — those with up to nine employees — do not believe that reducing their own emissions will make a difference to the planet. Two thirds have never sought information on how to reduce their carbon footprint.

Half find the language around sustainability inaccessible, while 78 per cent do not fully understand the term net zero and 72 per cent do not fully understand the term carbon-neutral. However, half of small business owners want information to help them to assess whether reducing their carbon footprint would make financial sense.

According to a survey last year by Hearts & Science, a marketing agency, 52 per cent of consumers take a brand’s eco-credentials into consideration when choosing products and 21 per cent have stopped buying from brands because of their environmental impact.

Jeroo Doodhmal, founder of Pip & Henry, which makes sustainable shoes for children, said that while many businesses felt compelled to transition to low-carbon business models, it was difficult without “consistent support and access to the right information”.

Ben Caspary, founder of Booheads, which makes bamboo electric toothbrush heads, said: “Supply chain and production costs are make-or-break for small businesses and the associated carbon footprint is often beyond an owner’s control.”

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