On Earth Day 2023, here’s how SMEs are taking climate actionWe Mean Business Coalition
The motto of Earth Day, which takes place on Saturday, April 22 this year, reads “it’s not a day, it’s a movement.” Since the first Earth Day over 50 years ago, prioritizing environmental and climate action year-round has become even more vital, and more small businesses are joining the movement.
That’s why this year the SME Climate Hub, founded by the We Mean Business Coalition, is taking the opportunity to mobilize its community of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) around the world. This community, made up of 5,700 SMEs, is calling on its peers to further invest in our planet by making the SME Climate Commitment to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
#EarthDay is coming!
But our 🌍 deserves more than a day, don't you think? This week we'll celebrate the businesses in our community who are taking climate action day in and day out. #InvestInOurPlanet – and your business – with an SME Climate Commitment: https://t.co/UrexdPw0KR pic.twitter.com/GEpKq10zrT
— SME Climate Hub (@SMEClimateHub) April 17, 2023
Small business contributes more than half of the world’s GDP and employs almost three quarters of its workers. In India alone more than 110 million people work for SMEs. Plenty of them are already acting.
Forster Communications, a UK-based PR firm, joined the SME Climate Hub in 2020 and has benefitted from its resources to implement its Climate Transition Action Plan. The company’s three-year roadmap set the goal of cutting operational carbon emissions from its finance, travel and office operations; transitioning to suppliers with clear net zero plans; and helping hybrid-work employees cut emissions at home and on their commutes. As a result, the firm reduced its CO2 emissions by 4.1 tons during this period.
Likewise, Kuli Kuli, a US-based food and beverage brand, benefitted from the SME Climate Hub’s free resources, like the Climate Fit online course. The company, which is also a certified B Corp, learned through its emissions inventory that plastic packaging, more so than transport, was a key emissions hotspot. Since then, Kuli Kuli switched to using 50% post-consumer recycled material for a key product line and, as a result, has saved an estimated 450 gallons of gasoline and diverted the equivalent of 100,000 plastic bottles from landfill.
Despite the thousands of SMEs who are making progress, this year’s SME Climate Hub survey showed that many small businesses still lack the finance and knowledge to take the level of climate action that’s needed to keep global temperature rise in check. That’s where big businesses can play their part.
Over 90% of the world's businesses are small to medium sized enterprises.
The actions of one SME may feel like a drop in the ocean. But together, the potential for change is enormous. This #EarthDay, join thousands of businesses putting the planet first: https://t.co/UrexdPw0KR pic.twitter.com/2ZOVAau4WQ
— SME Climate Hub (@SMEClimateHub) April 18, 2023
Scope 3 – or supply chain – emissions make up the bulk of a company’s carbon footprint, so it’s crucial that large businesses address these emissions in their transition plans and support the SMEs they work with.
That support can take different forms depending on sector and geography. For food and beverage multinationals, action could look like Unilever’s work with soy farmers in Iowa, USA to incentivize regenerative farming practices. Retail companies that work with a large number of suppliers can follow the lead of Ingka Group, the largest IKEA retailer, which is mobilizing its business-to-business network to make the SME Climate Commitment. And firms across sectors can join 280 others – from Nike to Walmart – by supporting their suppliers to measure and manage their emissions as CDP Supply Chain members.
Showing ambition and taking action by encouraging small businesses in their supply chains to reduce their impact on the climate and environment is one big step for large businesses to prioritize this Earth Day. Your company can follow the steps to address supply chain emissions via We Mean Business Coalition’s 4 A’s of Climate Leadership framework.
SMEs interested in accessing the SME Climate Hub’s tools and resources can join an introductory webinar and learn from their peers on April 27, 2023.