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Financing net zero carbon

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As the UK gears up for the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow in November, now is the chance to go that One Step Greener and commit your business to reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

Join thousands of other small businesses taking action on climate change by signing up to the SME Climate Commitment at the businessclimatehub.org/uk/ You’ll also find tips and resources here to help you go green.

When you commit, you’ll get the tools to help you understand your emissions, how to tackle them, and how to share what you’re doing with your customers and your community.

Taking action also has business benefits. Taking simple steps can reduce your running costs, attract new customers who want to buy sustainably, and help you seize new opportunities.

Here are some ideas to help you save money while you take action:

Check the changes you can’t afford to miss

Many green actions pay for themselves. For example, data suggests many businesses can make back the cost of insulating their buildings within just a year. Acting on climate can also put you ahead of the pack. Showing green credentials is increasingly a part of procurement requirements, and data shows that greener businesses are likely to appeal to the growing numbers of consumers who care about the environment. Check out simple changes that can save you money and help you grow on the UK Business Climate Hub.

Workplace Charging Scheme

Get a voucher for installing charging points in your workplace. Vouchers cover up to 75% of purchase and installation costs, up to a maximum of £350 per charging point, and a maximum of 40 charging points per site. Find out more: https://www.gov.uk/apply-electric-vehicle-charge-point-discount.

Plug-in Charging Grant Scheme

Grants are available to help pay for low-emission vehicles. These are worth up to £2,500 of the purchase price of a car. Eligible cars must cost less than £35,000. The grant will also pay for 35% of the purchase price for selected small vans, up to a maximum of £3000, and 35% of the purchase price for selected large vans, up to maximum of £6,000. Find out more: www.gov.uk/plug-in-car-van-grants.

Cycle to Work Scheme

Employees give up some of their income (salary sacrifice), in return for hiring bikes and cycling equipment. Any size business can operate a cycle to work scheme. Find out more: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycle-to-work-scheme-implementation-guidance

Capital allowances claim scheme

You can claim enhanced capital allowances (a type of first year allowances) for buying energy- and water-efficient equipment for your business. This includes some cars with low CO2 emissions, energy saving equipment, water saving equipment, gas, biogas and hydrogen refuelling equipment and new zero-emission goods vehicles. You can claim on your tax return. Find out more: www.gov.uk/capital-allowances/first-year-allowances

Find targeted support in your local area

Speak to us at the Green Business Network to access help and advice on how you can become a more sustainable business. Low Carbon Workspaces is also offering small businesses grants of up to £5,000 towards green infrastructure changes such as LED lighting, low energy appliances, insulation and other carbon reduction measures. Visit https://www.lowcarbonworkspaces.co.uk for more information.

Speak to your bank or accountant about tailored green business finance

Many banks have specialised loans that can be used specifically for green improvements such as installing renewable energy system or improving energy efficiency.