A report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) calls for the government to expand the current loan scheme for small businesses and provide incentives for firms to make their buildings more environmentally friendly.
The UK is expected to reduce its carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. The FSB says that while many small businesses understand the benefits of green investment, the upfront cost is a huge disincentive.
Presently, small firms can access a zero per cent loan scheme for energy efficient equipment. The scheme allows firms to ‘pay as you save’ so firms can realise a genuine cost saving through energy efficiency, without having to make an upfront cost.
John Walker, national chairman of the FSB, says: ‘In order to achieve the tough targets set by the government, it must ensure that it makes economic sense for the UK’s 4.8 million small firms to go green. Small businesses can play a huge part in the UK’s fight against climate change and we urge the government to harness this potential when it publishes its Energy Bill, expected later this parliament.’
Mike Childs, Friends of the Earth’s head of climate, says: ‘As this report sets out, small businesses have much to gain from cutting their emissions – insulating offices and producing clean energy will save thousands on fuel bills, and there’s going to be plenty of new job opportunities as loft-laggers, roofers and technicians are needed to improve the UK’s woefully inefficient buildings.
‘Increasing zero-interest loans and more ambitious incentives for green energy for businesses would make going green more financially rewarding, but businesses also need certainty about what will be expected of them in the years ahead – which means getting regulations and taxation right.’