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Low carbon and net zero targets

The Climate Change Act 2008, as amended in 2019, commits the UK to 'net zero' by 2050. Yet we’ve all seen the headlines. Heard the statistics but where do you start? And more importantly, how do you keep going?

What is your carbon footprint?

You can start by taking meaningful action and find out what your carbon footprint is. For most organisations, the main sources of greenhouse gases are likely to come from the following activities:

  • Consumption of electricity
  • Consumption of gas
  • Consumption of petrol or diesel

To calculate your carbon footprint, you will need to know what your total consumption is in kWh over a 12 month period and how much fuel you have used. Once you have this data, you will need to convert your gas and electricity into CO2e units. Luckily the government publishes a useful guide that shows all the necessary conversion for free.

Next, you will need to calculate how much fuel your business has used. An easy way to do this is by estimating your annual fuel costs for each type of vehicle that you have and then convert these into litres of fuel by using the governments information on ‘average road fuel prices’.

This will give you an indication of what your carbon footprint is, however for a more accurate and importantly ‘validated’ measure, it’s best to contract with a private sector organisation. This service is similar to asking an accountant to do your annual book keeping, each year they can check your data and produce a verification report showing your carbon footprint. They can also track any year-on-year changes, and advise how you can make further reductions in your CO2e emissions.

Other organisations

The following organisations can do this service for you:

The Zellar Platform

This is an online platform that can help businesses to calculate and manage their carbon footprints, measure performance, create decarbonisation plans, and ultimately reduce their energy bills. There are a total of 400 one-year Zellar sustainability platform licences (worth up to £600 each) on offer from the East Midland's Chamber of Commerce to businesses in Nottingham, Leicester, Mansfield, Bassetlaw, Newark and Sherwood, Derbyshire Dales and the High Peak.

Severn Trent Water Audit

Businesses can  sign up for a free water audit to help detect and resolve issues that could be costing you money. Seven Trent will also monitor your current water usage and provide personalised water saving advice, tailored to your business. They can fit water saving devices, replace any old fixtures and fittings, and identify opportunities to fix leaks – all for free! Less water wasted and less energy used will also reduce your carbon footprint.

Support from universities

Energy for Business

Energy for business is a low carbon innovation project from the University of Nottingham. They help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with product research and development, business support and have some capital funding/grants, to help you take the leap into becoming a low carbon business. SMEs can get up to £10,000 or 40% of eligible project costs. Minimum projects to be considered are £2500 up to a maximum of £24,999.

The Sustainability in Enterprise Project

This project helps small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) on the journey to Net Zero in Nottingham City, Broxtowe, and Hucknall in Ashfield, Rushcliffe, and Gedling. SMEs can access support from specialists in sustainable business operations, building management, product design, and employee engagement completely free. The idea is to help businesses understand what their current carbon emissions are, and to identify effective carbon reduction measures. Some financial support is available to help businesses act in the form of a grant worth up to £5000.

The Low Carbon Network

If you are an SME and supply low carbon or environmental goods or services, then you can join this network managed by Derby University. It also gives access to £2500 grant to use for improving your business, and towards accreditation, as well as a searchable network map that allows other SMEs to connect with larger organisations and supply chains. 

Business grants

The ARC Project

Small and medium enterprises in Hucknall and Nottingham City area can get free carbon reduction advice and access to a grant, which can cover up to 35% of eligible projects costs up to a maximum of £16,000. This can be used to support low carbon energy efficiency projects.

EV Infrastructure Grant

The EV infrastructure grant for staff and fleets is for small to medium sized businesses in the UK. This grant will cover up to 75% of the cost of installing the infrastructure needed for charge points to operate and for future charge points to be installed, as well as the cost of any charge points installed. There is a limit of £15,000 per grant.

You can get up to:

  • £350 per Charge Point socket installed
  • £500 per parking space enabled with supporting infrastructure

To be eligible you must also be a UK registered company, charity or public sector with a company’s registration number or VAT number. The grant can only be used to retrofit existing properties. It cannot be used for buildings under construction and your car park must have a minimum of 5 clearly marked, off-street parking spaces. Your installer will claim the grant on your behalf. The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) provides this grant.

Business Information Electric Vehicles Hub

This is an online platform which provides lots of information, including grants on all aspects of electric vehicles. So, whether your looking for an electric van for your business, need help with HGV's or help with understanding HMRC electric mileage rates, this platform can help.

Business loans

NatWest Business Bank

NatWest Business Bank offer services, financing, and funding solutions to customers to help them achieve their green and climate ambitions. They will support customers, both small and large, to transition towards a low carbon economy through climate and sustainable funding and financing.

Low carbon support for social enterprises

Nottinghamshire Energy Partnership (NEP)

NEP assist third sector organisations to become more energy efficient. They have worked with over 100 organisations including sports clubs and community centres. 100% of NEP Energy Services profits are reinvested in public health and carbon reduction projects.

Other low carbon information websites