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What is net zero?

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A guide for small businesses to cut carbon

We’ve all made changes to the way we live our lives to try to be kinder to the environment, whether that’s using the right recycling bin or switching to an electric vehicle. From individuals and families to small businesses and large corporations, it’s everyone’s responsibility to prioritise sustainability and tackle climate change.

One of the ways we can move towards a greener future is to reach net zero.

What does net zero mean?

The term net zero means achieving a balance between the greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere and those taken out.

Many scientists suggest that achieving this balance will mean that global warming stabilises.1

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most plentiful greenhouse gas, and human activities are increasing the amount in the atmosphere.

What is the net zero 2050 target?

In 2019, the UK became the first major economy to pass legislation that commits the country to net zero emissions. The target means the UK must reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 100% (relative to 1990 levels) by 2050. The net zero 2050 target is compatible with the Paris Agreement temperature goals.

Many businesses have been quick to respond to the government’s targets and have set their own targets and created their own net zero strategies.

A business can become carbon neutral by offsetting CO2 emissions, for example by funding green projects elsewhere, but to be net zero a company must reduce emissions.

What steps can my small business take to become a net zero company?

Achieving net zero is everyone’s responsibility. SMEs account for more than half of non-domestic energy usage4 so every small change is important in getting to net zero together. Here are some tips to help your small business achieve net zero…

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  1. IPCC Global Warming of 5C report
  2. All our renewable electricity is sourced from wind and hydro assets wholly or partly owned by SSE Renewables, our sister company in the SSE Group. With SSE renewable electricity, you’ll continue to get your electricity through the national grid as normal, and we’ll match your consumption to REGOs from the SSE Group’s generating assets.
  3. green-alliance.org.uk/A_smarter_way_to_save_energy_press_release
  4. England and Wales: The Non-Domestic National Energy Efficiency Data-Framework: Energy Statistics 2006-12
  5. EV: goultralow.com/fleets-and-businesses