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Navigating SBTi for Small Businesses

Starting a sustainability journey isn’t just for large businesses and setting specific science-based targets doesn’t have to be daunting. This blog outlines what the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) is and how it applies to small businesses, to help your business save energy and the planet.

Understanding SBTi

Science-based targets offer businesses a roadmap to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and ensure sustainable business development, aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The SBTi understands that a one-size-fits-all approach could deter smaller businesses from setting emission-related goals. That’s why they have created a simplified process, making it easy for SMEs to set achievable targets that are in line with climate science, to limit global warming temperatures to 1.5°C rather than the previous well below 2.0°C. With small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) making up 90% of all businesses and 50% of employment worldwide, it’s clear they have a big role to play in the fight against climate change.

Setting Science-Based Targets for small businesses

While some small businesses may feel unequipped to set science-based targets, the SBTi offers a streamlined process. This enables SMEs to take account of the emissions across their value chains in a manageable way for smaller teams. While SMEs are still required to measure and reduce emissions to meet the pre-fixed Scope 1 and 2 targets, there is no requirement to create quantified targets for Scope 3 at this time.

Challenges faced on the sustainability journey

Small businesses may encounter various challenges when embarking on the sustainability journey, including:

Lack of resources: For small businesses, limited time and resources pose barriers to initiating and maintaining sustainability efforts. Taking the time to identify Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions might seem a problem beyond the capabilities and the day-to-day activities of a small business. The new, short target-setting method addresses this barrier and simplifies the process, making reducing emissions associated with business activities manageable and achievable.

Scope 3: Managing emissions associated with the value chain (Scope 3) may seem daunting for small businesses and more trouble than it’s worth. The new target-setting approach offers fewer intensive requirements, making it practical and manageable for SMEs.

Perceived expense: Small businesses may view setting sustainability initiatives as an unnecessary expense and disruptive to daily operations. However, with increasing operational costs, nearly ⅓ of SBTi businesses are already seeing cost savings because of their commitment.

Benefits for small businesses participating in SBTi

Participating in the SBTi offers several benefits for SMEs, such as:

Competitive advantage: By becoming more sustainable, small businesses actively showcase their proactive approach to climate-friendly business practices. 55% of businesses who have committed to the SBTi say it gives them a competitive advantage.

Climate leadership: As ethical consumption continues to grow, a brand’s reputation and commitment to sustainability are becoming increasingly important. Brands that address social and environmental issues improve existing customer loyalty and attract new ones. The SBTi targets enable SMEs to demonstrate their commitment and position themselves as climate leaders.

Cost of timesaving: By being ambitious with their climate commitments, 29% of businesses are already seeing bottom-line savings. Small businesses can ensure daily operations are efficient, leading to cost savings as well as future-proofing business operations.

Regulatory compliance: As new regulations develop globally, new penalties could seriously affect SMEs who are unprepared for future requirements.

How Amber can help

If you’re looking to make the first step toward a sustainable future for your business, Amber is here to help. As a trusted partner, we provide straightforward solutions to help businesses achieve their Net Zero goals. Contact us to connect with one of our Net Zero consultants and start your journey to a more sustainable future.

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