COP 26 and the SME Climate Commitment. How SMEs can get involved in COP26

This article discusses how business can get involved in delivering the COP 26 agenda by signing the SME Climate Commitment to achieve net zero by 2050.

It is the fourth article in a series about sustainable development and business. Previous articles have discussed the benefits of being an early adopter of sustainable practice, how business can link to the UN’s Sustainable Development goals and how businesses can change their thinking to work more sustainably.

What is the SME Climate Commitment?

The SME Climate Commitment [1] is the first of three actions designed to protect the planet, details can be found on the Climate Hub (Home – SME Climate hub).  SMEs are asked to commit to the pledge shown in Figure 1

Figure 1: The SME Climate Commitment [1]

The SME Climate Commitment

Recognising that climate change poses
a threat to the economy, nature and society-at-large, our company commits to
take action immediately in order to:

1.     Halve our greenhouse gas emissions before 2030

2.     Achieve net zero emissions before 2050

3.     Disclose our progress on a yearly basis

In doing so, we are proud to be
recognised by the United Nations Race to Zero campaign, and join governments,
businesses, cities, regions, and universities around the world that share the
same mission.


Once a commitment has been made, your business is asked to take action using a series of tools and resources designed for SMEs (see Tools – SME Climate hub ( 

Your business will be recognised by the UN’s Race to Zero campaign. You will be able to display a UN Climate Hub Logo on all business premises and marketing materials. 

This allows your customers to recognise you have made a commitment to tackle climate

What does ‘achieve’ net zero mean for a SME?

Net zero, as defined by the climate hub, requires a business to ensure that the activities within the business value chain result in no net impact on the climate from greenhouse gas emissions. Residual emissions (i.e. those that can not be removed) should be no more than 10% of the baseline emission value and must be offset.

What does the Climate Commitment require a business to do?

SMEs should take action immediately to:

·         Measure their greenhouse gas emissions

·         Set targets to reduce their emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050

·         Develop a plan that describes the actions to be taken to meet the emission reduction targets set

·         Implement the emission reduction plan and take the required actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

·         Set up a monitoring and reporting procedure to publish the progress on an annual basis

·         Review the plans and targets regularly, revising them if necessary, to achieve net zero by the target date.

Why Make the Commitment?

The Race to Zero is a global initiative recognising that all businesses have a huge role to play in cutting emissions and protecting the planet.  The UK Government has partnered with climate groups and business owners to set up a dedicated UK Business Climate Hub (UK – SME Climate hub).  Any UK business that commits to this scheme will receive regular updates, ideas and support to achieve net zero.

The main advantages in making the SME Climate Commitment are to belong to a like minded community of other businesses that are determined to protect the plant, future proof your business and demonstrate your low carbon credentials to customers.

This commitment is not just about the future of your business, but about taking action now to address current sustainability issues

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Paul Beers

October 2021



[1] Learn more about the SME Climate Commitment [online] Available at: Copy of About the SME Climate Commitment v0.9 sept 16 – Google Docs ( Accessed on 6 October 2021


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