The tools created in partnership with Normative, BSR, CISL and CDP help small and medium sized businesses educate themselves on climate action, and measure and report on their emissions.
Small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) account for 90% of business worldwide and affect the livelihoods of over 2 billion people. However, only a small portion of these businesses measure or report on their emissions, citing cost and complexity as barriers to action. Small businesses have lacked the tools and resources needed to take climate action, as guidelines available for emissions measurement, action and reporting have catered to the needs of large corporations, rather than mid-level players. Given the impact of SMEs on the economy and society, it’s crucial they are equipped with the tools and resources needed to move from commitment to action.
To address this gap, the SME Climate Hub has launched a new suite of tools, providing SMEs with comprehensive climate education and effective, free emissions measurement and reporting. The SME Climate Hub is an initiative of the We Mean Business Coalition, Exponential Roadmap Initiative, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the United Nations Race to Zero campaign. In collaboration with Normative and the Net Zero team at Oxford University, the initiative provides small and medium sized businesses with a one-stop-shop to make a climate commitment and access best-in-class tools and resources to mitigate their environmental impact and build resilient businesses for the future. With the addition of the new tools created in partnership with Normative, CDP, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR™) and the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), the SME Climate Hub will better enable SMEs to make strategic and impactful emissions reductions, track their progress, and demonstrate climate leadership.
“Through the collaboration of partners with different expertise, we are creating a path forward to net-zero that’s simple and achievable — and most importantly, leaves no one behind,” said María Mendiluce, CEO of We Mean Business Coalition. “To reach our collective climate goals, every business has a role to play.”
“Climate Fit” Educational Modules
In a survey of SMEs committed to the SME Climate Hub, 63% of respondents noted skills and knowledge as the primary barrier to climate action. To bridge this gap, BSR and CISL in partnership with We Mean Business Coalition have developed Climate Fit, a practical, step-by-step guide to support SMEs to reduce their emissions by setting targets and making operational changes. In digestible segments, the video and written modules break down complex topics to facilitate action now and planning for the future. Businesses can learn tactical advice to address climate action in their operations, supply chains, and design, and even push for emissions reductions outside of their own company, such as in policy or their community. The course is free, available online globally to businesses committed to the SME Climate Hub, and self-paced for accessibility.
“Small and medium-sized companies are the mainstay of supply chains, inextricably linked to the climate actions being taken by thousands of larger businesses who have committed to net-zero emissions by 2030,” said Giulio Berruti, Climate Change Director at BSR. “Climate Fit will support companies who themselves have committed to climate action, with a series of self-guided, free, online modules covering topics ranging from governance and strategy to operations, supply chains and product design. Companies using the course will be able to make tangible progress toward transforming their businesses, and play a meaningful role in the effort to reduce global emissions.”
“Small businesses can play a pivotal role in tackling global challenges like climate change, provided the policy, large corporate and financial worlds can create supportive environments,” noted Eithne George, Director of the Canopy Incubator, CISL. “We’ve spent over 30 years building the capacity of corporate executives to take leadership and find opportunity in response to global threats like climate change. We’re delighted to extend that to small businesses through this collaboration with BSR on the SME Climate Hub.”
Normative Carbon Calculator
Normative has developed the Industry CO₂ Insights tool, with grant funding from Google.org and technical support from a team of Google.org Fellows. Through the SME Climate Hub, small and medium sized businesses can access the new tool to understand in which areas of their business they may need to take action to reduce emissions. The tool gives them insight into the estimated average greenhouse gas emissions produced by similar companies in the same sector, and country.
“With the Google.org Fellowship grant funding and six months of pro bono technical support from Google.org Fellows, we are making a substantial investment in the technologies that will be crucial to tackling climate problems,” says Jen Carter, Head of Technology & Volunteering at Google.org. “The SME Climate Hub Benchmark is doing just that.”
“We want to democratize carbon accounting and make the race to net zero available to everyone,” says Kristian Rönn, CEO and co-founder of Normative, and a supporting partner of the SME Climate Hub.
SME Climate Reporting Framework
Later this month, CDP will launch its SME Climate Disclosure Framework in partnership with the Exponential Roadmap Initiative and Normative. The framework is intended to be simple, flexible and is specifically tailored for small to medium sized businesses.
In August, CDP issued a public consultation to shape the Disclosure Framework, and has used the insights to further streamline the resource, to maximize ambition while reducing the reporting burden. The framework lays out the key climate-related indicators that SMEs should be reporting on, and which SMEs should use to inform their disclosures. By including the opinions and perspectives of SME stakeholders during the development process, the SME Climate Disclosure Framework transparently improves SME reporting capabilities. The resource is open for anyone to access and is intended to be used directly by SMEs to guide their reporting of climate impacts and strategies to multiple stakeholders.
Sonya Bhonsle, CDP’s Global Head of Value Chains & Regional Director Corporations, said: “SMEs play a major role in economies around the world; micro-enterprises alone account for 70% to 90% of all firms. Without them, we cannot transition to a 1.5°C future. We’re delighted to be launching a framework in partnership with the SME Climate Hub that caters specifically to the sustainability reporting needs of SMEs. The framework will empower SMEs to disclose their environmental performance, make strategic and impactful climate commitments, track and report progress against those commitments, and demonstrate climate leadership.”
Over 2,700 companies across 84 countries are already committed to the SME Climate Hub. These businesses have set goals to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 and reach net zero emissions before 2050. However, these commitments must be backed by action. The addition of educational, measurement and reporting tools will allow SMEs to establish an accurate baseline and track progress to meeting these goals.
The science is clear: we need to halve our emissions by 2030 to deliver a zero-carbon world in time. We need all companies around the world to commit to a net-zero future — and take immediate action to achieve this goal. Join the SME Climate Hub and make the commitment today.
About the SME Climate Hub
The SME Climate Hub is an initiative of the We Mean Business Coalition, the Exponential Roadmap Initiative, the United Nations Race to Zero campaign and the International Chamber of Commerce. In collaboration with Normative and the Net Zero team at Oxford University, the SME Climate Hub provides tools and resources to enable SMEs to make a climate commitment, take action and measure their progress. This partnership is an exercise in radical collaboration that opens the doors for SMEs to join the United Nations Race to Zero campaign — an international campaign that brings together an unprecedented coalition of real economy actors and 120 governments committed to achieve net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.
BSR™ is an organization of sustainable business experts that works with its global network of the world’s leading companies to build a just and sustainable world. With offices in Asia, Europe, and North America, BSR™ provides insight, advice, and collaborative initiatives to help companies to see a changing world more clearly, create long-term business value, and scale impact.
The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) is a globally influential Institute developing leadership and solutions for a sustainable economy. We believe the economy can be ‘rewired’, through focused collaboration between business, government and finance institutions, to deliver positive outcomes for people, nature and climate. CISL’s digital learning courses reach over 10,000 international professionals each year. Our Canopy Incubator opening in 2022 will host and support small businesses and startups with high-growth high-impact potential to scale up.
Normative is the world’s first carbon accounting engine, helping businesses calculate their entire climate footprint and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Co-founded in 2014 by Kristian Rönn to accelerate the transition to Net Zero, Normative sets a new standard in scientific accuracy for emissions accounting, powered by its market-leading emissions database. The company, headquartered in Stockholm, has hundreds of customers, and partners with leading climate change organisations including the UN, to deliver actionable sustainability intelligence. Normative is also the foundational software provider for the SME Climate Hub through which thousands of small businesses have committed to net zero. Normative.io
CDP is a global non-profit that runs the world’s environmental disclosure system for companies, cities, states and regions. Founded in 2000 and working with more than 590 investors with over $110 trillion in assets, CDP pioneered using capital markets and corporate procurement to motivate companies to disclose their environmental impacts, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard water resources and protect forests.
Over 14,000 organizations around the world disclosed data through CDP in 2021, including more than 13,000 companies worth over 64% of global market capitalization, and over 1,100 cities, states and regions. Fully TCFD aligned, CDP holds the largest environmental database in the world, and CDP scores are widely used to drive investment and procurement decisions towards a zero carbon, sustainable and resilient economy. CDP is a founding member of the Science Based Targets initiative, We Mean Business Coalition, The Investor Agenda and the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative. Visit cdp.net or follow us @CDP to find out more.