On Tuesday 3 October, Better Bankside launched the Southwark Climate Collective (SCC) initiative at Ministry Venues. The project will provide free decarbonisation support for 160 SMEs within the borough of Southwark. Bringing together a powerful, cross-borough partnership of Team London Bridge, Southwark Council, The Blue Bermondsey and Elephant and Castle Business Forum, led by Better Bankside. The SCC will pool resources, advice and business relationships, to help SMEs decarbonise their operations in four areas: energy, waste, freight and supply chains, with the aim of a 1,204 tCO2e reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by March 2025.
The project has been funded by a £653,000 grant from the Mayor of London as part of its UK Shared Prosperity fund (UKSPF) and is in response to specific challenges faced by SMEs when it comes to the decarbonisation of their businesses.
According to the UN-backed SME Climate Hub, a number of barriers are blocking SMEs from taking the necessary climate action causing an ‘Intention Gap.’ It was found that SME decarbonisation is being hampered by a lack of skills and knowledge (63%), funding (48%) and time (40%). SMEs are vital for achieving London’s 2030 net zero target, accounting for over 90 percent of the business population and an estimated 40 percent of the UK’s non-domestic emissions.
The project is now open and recruiting 160 SMEs to get involved, with a target to engage 25 per cent from Black, Asian or minority ethnic-owned or led businesses, as London has the greatest proportion of entrepreneurs from Ethnic Minority groups.
The free, tailored sustainability support offered to the Southwark SMEs will allow them to take action in decarbonising their business operations and help prepare them for a low carbon transition. Decarbonisation pathways will be provided, and measurable targets set to stimulate action, while also enabling SMEs to procure ‘green’ low-carbon services, which in turn will stimulate the local green economy. The findings, and most effective tools of the year-long project, will then be rolled out to support the decarbonisation of SMEs across the UK.
If you’re business might be interested in taking part, read more on the website SouthwarkClimateCollective.co.uk or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or if your business is ready to dive in register today on the website.
 The current pressures on small businesses are both critical and complex; covid recovery, Brexit, energy crisis, supply chain disruption and the increased cost-of-living. The Energy Saving Trust 2022 report also indicated the need for a clear regulatory timetable to support SME pathway to net zero, calling for the government to establish firm dates for future low carbon standards. It is essential for SMEs to be able to respond to coming regulation.