Small businesses are keen to go green (but need financial support to stay out of the red)

EXPANDING the current loan scheme for small businesses and providing incentives for firms to green their buildings are just two of the measures that Government must look at in order to achieve the UK’s tough carbon emission reduction targets, according to a new report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) today.

The report, ‘Making sense of going green – small businesses and low carbon economy’, looks at the many opportunities which will allow small businesses to play their part.

The FSB believes that to get small business owners to proactively embrace energy efficiency, the Government needs to make going green economically viable; currently the upfront cost is a huge disincentive for small businesses, despite the benefits being understood.

With 47 percent of the UK’s carbon emissions from buildings there is an urgent need to engage with the private sector to tackle this problem.

The FSB believes this can be done by:

  • Incentivising private sector providers (banks, energy or construction companies) to pay the upfront costs of major building energy efficiency upgrades
  • Guaranteeing ‘pay as you save’ repayments through energy bills – by linking the responsibility of repayment to the building would help overcome the landlord/tenant divide
  • Supporting new business owners to green their buildings by encouraging firms in the worst G-rated buildings to take steps to move to an F-rating
  • Not penalising those who increase their rateable value through greening their premises by waiving the increased business rates

Mike Childs, Friends of the Earth’s Head of Climate, said: “The Government’s immediate priority should be to set all areas Local Carbon Budgets, encouraging councils and businesses to work together to cut emissions, save energy and transform the places in which we live and work.”

Chris Spies, Peterborough Branch Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “If the correct policies are put in place now, then small businesses will have the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions while also delivering the substantial economic growth that the UK economy desperately needs.”