What does net-zero mean for British businesses?

In the past few months the discussion on climate change has intensified, with strategic conversations taking place to shape policy both globally and locally.

Earlier in 2019, the UK became the first country to pledge to bring all its net emissions to net zero by 2050. A few cities have stepped up to the challenge with Bristol pledging to be carbon neutral by 2030 and Oxford pledging the same by 2020.

According to a recent YouGov report, more than half the businesses in Britain have plans in place to go carbon neutral by 2050, with 8% of businesses already meeting their targets.

However, more than 30% of British businesses have no plans in place to achieve this target.

A PWC study states that in order to achieve net zero by 2050, the UK will need to ramp up its annual decarbonisation rate from 3.7% to 9.7%. Much of  the UK’s past progress has been through the phasing out of coal. However, once this is done, other areas will need to step up to achieve the annual 10% rate of decarbonisation.

What does all of this mean for me?

If you’re curious about your personal carbon footprint, here is a fun little tool to check out.

As a business owner, it means that you will need to start thinking about how your business can take steps to stay ahead of all the rules and regulations that will come into play to support this level of growth. It is highly likely that at some point in the next few years, business owners will need to disclose how their business aligns with net-zero policies.

What can my business do to become part of the solution?

One of the first things you can do is to have an environmental performance review of your business. This will allow you to assess what you’re already doing, make suggestions for improvement, help you set targets and and create a plan to achieve your targets.

While your business can reduce the amount of carbon it emits, it is impossible to make no emissions at all. What you can do is to reduce your net emissions to become carbon neutral, or even carbon positive.

Tools like the Carbon Trust’s footprint calculator will help you evaluate the kind of emissions put out by your business.

The FSB has put together a list of 10 steps that small businesses can adopt to help them begin to reduce their impact. Many of these are easily doable.

What Blue Patch is doing to work towards net zero
  • Our energy comes from Good Energy, which means that our power is generated from 100% renewable sources. (There are other suppliers out there – Bulb, Octopus, Ecotricity and more)
  • For every business joins and renews with us, we plant a tree.
  • We are mindful of our energy consumption.
  • We use recycled and plastic-free packaging and encourage our members to do the same.
  • We invest in renewable energy.
  • We use public transport as often as possible.
  • We take steps to reduce waste and emissions from business activities.


Preeti is the Marketing Manager at Blue Patch. Born and raised in India, she spent some time in the US, completing a degree in Psychology and Biology, after which she moved to the UK in 2010 to study an MSc in Finance and Management. She can often be found obsessing over her plants, trying to clamp down on an ever-increasing collection of nail polish or exploring and taking photos of random corners of London. She’s found net-zero to be an interesting topic this year and looks forward to learning more about it in the days to come.

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