Going green without going into the red

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FSB says small businesses need extra financial support to go green

The FSB has said that, although most small businesses are keen to be more environmentally friendly, they need extra financial support in order to do so.

In its latest report, Making Sense of Going Green – small businesses and the low carbon economy, the organisation has recommended that the government expand the existing loan scheme for small businesses and provide incentives for firms to green their buildings.

The UK is expected to reduce its carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and, for small business owners to properly embrace energy efficiency, the FSB said, the government must make it more financially viable.

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The government offers small businesses a 0 percent loan scheme for energy efficient equipment and the FSB has said this must be reformed and expanded.

Beyond this, with 47 percent of the UK’s carbon emissions coming from buildings, the FSB noted the importance of the government engaging with the private sector to tackle the problem.One hurdle is the fact that 44 percent of small businesses rent their premises – many for less than five years – meaning that it is not in the business owners’ nor the landlords’ interests to spend money on greening the building.

The FSB believes this problem can be solved by: offering incentives for private sector providers to pay the upfront costs of energy efficiency projects; guaranteeing “pay as you save” repayments through energy bills; supporting new business owners by encouraging firms in worst G-rated buildings to move up to a n F rating; and not penalising those who increase their rateable value through greening their buildings by waiving increased business rates.

FSB national chairman John Walker said: ““In order to achieve the tough targets set by the government, it must ensure that it makes economic sense for the UK’s 4.8 million small firms to go green. Small businesses can play a huge part in the UK’s fight against climate change and we urge the government to harness this potential when it publishes its Energy Bill, expected later this Parliament.”

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