A SMEs guide to Carbon Reduction

A SMEs guide to Carbon Reduction

What is Net Zero?

There are two terms businesses will encounter as they cross the minefield to save the planet.

1. Net Zero

2. Carbon Neutral


1. Net Zero is when your business reduces its carbon emissions to the lowest amount possible, offsetting what remains.

2. Carbon Neutral is when your business agrees not to increase its carbon emissions but instead offset what they use.

In both cases, CO2 (Carbon) is removed from the environment, but for it to count, that removal must be permanent and proven.

Our advice? AVOID CARBON NEUTRAL this can’t reduce emissions at the speed we require, and it distracts from the real issue of necessary reductions. It is not a guilt-free solution.

Instead, we recommend you reduce everything you can, offset what you can’t then actively support your industry to tackle the areas that still negatively impact the planet.

For example, a pharmaceutical company cannot reuse or recycle some of its products due to the toxic chemicals they transport. Instead, they offset the emissions those products create and support the industry in developing a solution to tackle the issue.


1. You’re showing your stakeholders that you acknowledge that your business is still negatively impacting the planet; there is room for improvement and care.

2. You’re doing what you can to support a collective solution for the whole industry.

3. Any innovative solutions that your business funds financially will be eligible to claim Research and Development Tax Credits, whether through time or resources.

Examples of Carbon Reduction:

  • Become a paperless office (what can go online?)
  • Look at your energy efficiency or move to green/renewable energy
  • Recycle or reuse (not just in the office but within your supply chain)

For example, could your cardboard be shredded to become a client or supplier packaging material or the heat from your processes be used to heat your office?


1. You become more efficient

2. Lower energy bills

3. Reduce waste

4. Deliver genuine reductions in emissions, which reduces harm to the environment.

Examples of Carbon Offsetting projects:

• Tree planting (make sure the land is protected!)

• Enhance biodiversity (supporting habitats and wildlife)

• Improve soil quality (soil can hold 3x as much as the atmosphere)

• Rainwater absorption

• Food production (crop failure has a negative impact on climate change).

• Methane (scarier than carbon) reduction – Cattle feed that reduces cows’ methane output. There are 1 billion cows on the planet!

• Empower families in developing countries to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels

WARNING – There are many carbon offsetting schemes based on a random average carbon footprint, as opposed to your actual carbon output as a business, meaning you may fail to meet an accurate and sufficient offset to address the problem of climate change.

So, where do I start?

1. Find out what your current carbon footprint is

2. Make changes to reduce your emissions

3. Offset what you can’t reduce

4. Be part of the broader solution for your industry

5. Track, measure and report on your success.

CONTACT the Be Ethical Training team to get started!