BCC report: businesses need government consistency to meet Net Zero targets

Business group British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) says businesses need help to reach Net Zero and set out three priorities for government to keep businesses on track. In a report produced with Lloyds Bank it concluded that :
• Government should review its support and advice to SMEs on moving to Net Zero
• Large businesses and institutions must continue to drive behaviour change in their supply chains
• Government should demonstrate commitment and consistency in its Net Zero plans
The new report followed an earlier BCC survey of more than 1,000 businesses, which found that nine out of 10 do not fully understand what the government’s target of making the UK Net Zero by 2050 means for them. 
Half of larger firms had a ‘complete’ or ‘some understanding’ of the Net Zero target. But SMEs – who represented 97% of those surveyed – only 4% had carried out a written assessment of the green jobs or skills they will need in-house over the next 10 years and a fifth of firms thought that, on balance, green technology will decrease the productivity of their company. However, the survey also showed most firms were using new technology such as LED lighting, or adopting greener policies, such as greener vehicles, even if their overall understanding of reaching Net Zero was incomplete.
Responding to the initial report, research by BCC and Lloyds Bank found a lack of consistency in government actions and messaging is holding many smaller firms back, because they fear incurring cost and betting on the wrong technology.
Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the BCC, said: “Mixed messages from Government on the importance of Net Zero are only compounding the problem, as well as a ‘stick’ heavy approach to enforcing change.
Haviland said, “… if we get this right then it will be a huge opportunity for UK Plc. To do that we need a coherent system of free support and advice made available for firms across the country. Larger corporates also need to help the smaller businesses in their supply chains kickstart their Net Zero journey. And, most importantly, government needs to develop a long-term strategy which it can demonstrate it will stick to. That means supporting the development, and investment in, the infrastructure and skills needed to make Net Zero happen.”
Paul Gordon, Managing Director, Relationship Management at Lloyds Bank said: “This report highlights the need for clarity from government on the support available and reinforces the need to remove the barriers for investment such as greater EV charging infrastructure, giving SMEs the confidence to invest”.

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