7 Reasons Why Your SME Should Become Carbon Neutral

December 2021

What do the experts think...

SMEs have a huge opportunity to play a positive role in responding to the climate crisis, by talking responsibility for their own business' impact on the environment, as well as by joining a community of climate conscious leaders working towards a more sustainable future. Whether you're someone who believes this already and is looking to bring company leaders along with you, or a business leader looking for a solid argument as to why you should join the climate positive movement, you've come to the right place.

The team at trace has spoken to numerous people working inside businesses where they have a groundswell of employee and even consumer support, yet senior leadership, directors or board members are yet to be convinced that becoming carbon neutral is the “right” step for the business (irrespective of whether it’s the “right” thing to do for the planet). 

Here’s a brief list of the top arguments we find are most persuasive for decision-makers.

1. Starting early is best

Particularly for businesses on a fast growth trajectory, becoming carbon neutral and implementing a strategy to decarbonise early will allow your strategy to grow with you, meaning fewer large scale changes are required later. Testing and learning what works best for your business is also easier on a small scale, meaning lower risk now, for higher long-term reward. 

trace case study - Linktree
When Linktree joined trace, they had a team of 60 people which in a matter of only months, grew to over 100!  When it was time to find a new office space for the growing team, a major consideration was - what will the impact be of one option compared to another on our carbon footprint? Because they had already measured and analysed their carbon footprint with trace, the decision’s impact on the planet was both top of mind and easy to calculate.
The Linktree head office

2. You are most likely part of the downstream supply chain for bigger organisations

Becoming carbon neutral is a compelling selling point as you can help these customers reduce their ‘Scope 3’ emissions and in turn become a supplier of choice.

trace case study - Across the Ocean Shipping
Across the Ocean Shipping have always been conscious of the environmental impact from carbon emissions due to shipping and now with the help of trace’s proprietary emissions calculator are able to provide supply chain leaders with the tools to measure and offset the carbon emissions of their freight as part of a new initiative, Carbon Neutral Shipping. Managing Director, David Aherne, believes it’s imperative for shipping companies to become environmentally conscious, saying “Carbon offsetting is an effective and easy way to ensure prompt impact. There are very few freight forwarders offering carbon neutral freight solutions globally...”. This new offering is now not only fantastic for the environment, but also for allowing the business to offer something that stands out from the competition.
Carbon Neutral Shipping gives businesses the ability to offset the carbon footprint caused by their logistics supply chain.

3. A focus on sustainability is key to remaining an employer of choice

This is especially true when attracting the next generation of talent who we know care more about the company they work for reflecting their own values. When asked about the benefits of SMEs becoming carbon neutral, founder and CEO of recruitment agency Creative Natives, Ryan Kelly said,

“When we told our team we had become carbon neutral, there was real, genuine excitement about it. It just makes complete sense from every angle; it’s affordable and contributes to a bigger change while adding a bit more depth to an organisation’s offering. It says a lot about a company - that they’re doing something, not just talking about it.”
Ryan Kelly - Founder of Creative Natives recruitment consultancy

4. It will strengthen your offering

Becoming carbon neutral not only differentiates you from competitors but could also serve as inspiration for the creation of new products and services. For example, trace has worked with Sparkke Change Beverage Company to make their Carbon Zero beers as reality - a truly innovative product for the craft beer industry. 

Sparkke's Carbon Zero Beer range (yum!)

5. Mitigate risk

Climate risk is rising to the top of board meeting agendas at companies of all sizes and across all industries. Preparing for its potential impacts will be critical at a macro-level, and in the more immediate term, understanding and taking responsibility for your carbon emissions now will reduce the risk of possible future regulation that taxes carbon consumption. So when your business starts to feel the direct impacts of climate change, you can feel confident you will be prepared and focused on proactive adaptation, rather than simply 'putting out fires' as they arise.

6. What’s measured can be managed

Progressive, forward-thinking businesses consider their carbon management strategy alongside, or as part of their financial accounting. By buying carbon offsets to become carbon neutral, you are putting a dollar figure on climate action - something which is traditionally quite hard to do for ESG initiatives. Looking at carbon management with this accounting mindset sets trackable goals for carbon emissions reduction that will not only benefit the environment but also your business’ bottom line in the long term.

7. It’s more affordable than you might think

The most established methods for becoming carbon neutral were built for large businesses. Programs such as the Australian Government’s Climate Active certification are best suited to corporations with dedicated internal sustainability teams, an interest in highly detailed calculations, and the capacity to fund substantial associated consulting and certification fees. This model is simply not accessible to most SMEs, especially those looking to have the maximum positive impact for their investment, which is why trace’s model was established. We remove the barriers of cost and effort on the side of the customer. Along with our easy-to-use tech tools, our handpicked portfolio of projects means we’ve removed the tyranny of choice when it comes to selecting high-quality carbon credits and gives you the opportunity to pay a set price, rather than being beholden to somewhat unpredictable pricing in the current market.  And finally, you can get a FREE quote from our team in a matter of days to include in your business case, meaning you’ll have the full picture at hand before requiring any formal approvals from senior management or the Board.

If you’re interested in finding out the positive impact your SME could have by becoming carbon neutral, get in touch with our team here.

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