Climate change poses a risk to every aspect of our lives and the life of the planet, threatening to wreak havoc to the natural environment, to communities and livelihoods and the economy. Reducing carbon emissions and achieving Net Zero is essential.

The journey to Net Zero1 is a long one. Stretching years or decades into the future, the transition of our economy to a sustainable footing will be the most momentous change in business and industry of our generation.

But this is not a journey we need to make alone. All businesses are on the same road – no business can reach Net Zero by themselves, and no business can afford to be left behind.

The challenge of decarbonisation can appear particularly daunting coming as it does in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic – a period in which many businesses fought for survival.

Yet the pandemic has also demonstrated the resilience and agility of UK business. Many of us found untapped reserves of energy, creativity, and business acumen. Amid the adversity there were opportunities.

To talk of a ‘can-do spirit’ is a cliché, but we make no apology for using these words, because they are the right ones. It is a spirit that bodes well for the future and for the journey to sustainability.

SMEs must play a vital role in sustainability, because of their significance to the UK economy. SMEs account for 99% of UK business, three fifths of employment and half of the total turnover of the UK’s private sector.

In a post COP26 world, we cannot lose sight of the critical nature of the move to Net Zero and the vital role that SMEs will play.

Our ambition is to be a leading bank in supporting these businesses along the road to Net Zero. To deepen our understanding of how we can best support SMEs, we have spoken to more than 1,000 businesses and experts from across the UK for this report alongside our ongoing conversations with our customers. Our research has given us a comprehensive picture of where SMEs are on their journey, and of their views and concerns about what Net Zero means for their business.

Please find the full Sustainability report via this link:

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