Net Zero Spotlight: SME Action on Climate Change

SMEs are playing an important role in the march to net zero carbon emissions.

Throughout COP26, companies of all sizes are being encouraged to commit to climate action, including SMEs. techUK members Kinetic and Stuart, showcase some of the practical changes that can be made to tackle their own emissions.  

Kinetic 

David Wilkes, Chief Transformation Officer, Kinetic 

Kinetic are the UK’s leading supplier of event management and student accommodation software to the higher education sector, supporting 84% of UK and Irish universities, 60 universities in North America, as well as unique venues such as Lords Cricket Ground and the Merlin Group.  

Kinetic is committed to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 and reach net zero emissions before 2050 and as a result we have signed up to the SME Climate Commitment, joining like-minded businesses in the Race to Zero to protect our planet from the climate emergency. 

Yes, we’re a tiny cog in a huge wheel, but small to medium sized enterprises account for 90% of business worldwide and affect the livelihoods of over 2 billion people — and have a pivotal influence on governments around the world. As governments set the agenda for the year ahead, small businesses must show their value of climate action. 

We have started by understanding our current carbon footprint, and the impact of our wider supply chain and are already taking actions to cut our carbon footprint. We are replacing our florescent lighting in our Ludlow office with LED panels, halving energy consumption. This has a payback of only a few years. Moving to net zero is not just about moving to renewable sources, it is also about reducing consumption to provide capacity in the national infrastructure for new technologies such as electric vehicles. 

Looking at the supply chain, many of our customers are universities. Universities are showing leadership from the top to make sure strategic, institutional actions are taken on sustainability. All UK universities have committed to setting targets for supply chain emission reductions and other environmental targets beyond emissions or commit to a programme of work to set targets as soon as possible.   

We are proud to be helping our university customers reduce supply chain emissions by reducing both our own footprint and by aligning our technologies with partners who are like-minded.  For example, our customers who have moved their systems from on-premise to the cloud have already aligned themselves with a supply chain that is targeted to be carbon negative by 2030. 

Stuart  

Will White, Program Manager, Sustainability Program 

Stuart is a tech logistics company that has revolutionised urban delivery since it was founded in Paris in 2015. Committed to providing logistics for a sustainable world, Stuart connects businesses of all sizes to high quality couriers to offer industry-leading delivery built on precision, speed and flexibility. This is powered by innovative logistics technology and operational expertise which allows global retailers and local businesses to meet their customers’ needs for on-demand, same day and next day delivery. 

At Stuart, we are revolutionising urban logistics across Europe’s biggest cities and recognise the responsibility that brings to reduce our CO2e emissions. 

Our rapid delivery service is built on our proprietary tech logistics platform which has been optimised to ensure every package travels the shortest possible distance, minimising our impact on the environment and ensuring sustainability is embedded at the very core of our business. 

Accelerating the transition to low emission vehicles is crucial to reducing our emissions. However, Stuart couriers own their own vehicles and are therefore constrained in their ability to switch to low emissions vehicles. We are combating this by building new partnerships with electric vehicle and charging infrastructure providers, as well as financial partners to incentivise and accelerate our couriers’ transition to low-emission vehicles.  

This will not only contribute to lowering Stuart company emissions - which we now rigorously measure - but will also enable couriers to reduce their own personal carbon footprints. 

Knowledge is also key to driving change. In that context, we have built a full training program for all our employees across all our geographies. It started with a half day Climate Fresk workshop to build our collective knowledge of the climate challenge, followed by focused sessions and an external speaker. We want to empower all our employees to be change makers within their own teams and lives and act as a catalyst for global change, in and beyond the company. 

 

For more information on Climate Tech innovation find our report here.  

Guidance for SMEs on transitioning to Net Zero can also be found here.   

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