NatWest Group research has revealed that 87% of UK SMEs are unaware of their business’s total carbon emissions, despite good intentions – with almost half (45%) of UK SMEs recognising it is important to lower their emissions in the near future.
These stark statistics follow NatWest Group’s publication of the ‘Springboard to Sustainability’ report, which detailed that, with the right support the UK’s six million SMEs can contribute to up to 50% of the UK’s Net Zero decarbonisation goals by 2030 worth an estimated £160 billion in revenue.
To help address this crucial gap between intent and knowledge, NatWest Group has launched the NatWest Carbon Tracker app which provides SMEs with an estimate of their carbon footprint. The app, developed in partnership with carbon tracking expert Cogo, will be piloted with eligible SMEs in the manufacturing and transport sectors to allow those SMEs to trial the app, with no fee being payable for use before NatWest looks to roll the Carbon Tracker out to eligible SMEs more widely. This will help to address the need outlined by almost half (46%) of SMEs who stated they would find an emissions tracker tool helpful.
On downloading the app and linking it to their business accounts, SMEs will be able to review their transactions and estimated carbon footprint, see their estimated emissions over time, and compare them month-on-month. The app also suggests ways that SMEs may be able to reduce carbon emissions and learn more about the support available to help them go greener. These suggestions could include switching to electric vehicles and moving to renewable energy and other changes that could reduce emissions and could save SMEs money on their energy bills.
The SME pilot follows the successful rollout of the carbon footprint tracking feature to retail customers last year in partnership with carbon tracking expert Cogo to help them understand the environmental impact of their spending and to give tips on how they can cut their carbon footprint. More than 150,000 retail customers have used the carbon tracker since launch in November 2021.
Andrew Harrison, Head of Business Banking, NatWest Group said, “As the UK’s biggest bank for business, we know many SMEs are unsure about where to start on their sustainability journey, and many don’t have the time or resources needed to understand their environmental impact.”