The SME Climate Hub has joined forces with Oxford University to provide small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with tools and resources to help them take climate action. Ahead of the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement signing, the freely available tools and resources are specially selected for SMEs to reduce carbon emissions, build business resilience and gain a competitive advantage, and help them achieve the Paris Agreement goals.

As the world reflects on progress on climate action since the Paris Agreement signing, it is clear that action by small and medium-sized companies is an essential part of accelerating the transition to a net-zero emissions global economy. 

Majda Dabaghi, Director – Green Inclusive Growth, International Chamber of Commerce, told TFG: “If the current pandemic has taught us anything, it is that building resilience is vital for businesses to survive and thrive into the future. The SME Climate Hub gives small and medium-sized businesses the tools to help build resilience and future-proof their business.”

The SME Climate Hub is co-hosted by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Exponential Roadmap Initiative, the We Mean Business coalition and the United Nations Race to Zero campaign. The SME Climate Hub is made possible by the We Mean Business coalition’s partnership with Amazon. It aims to mobilise and support millions of SMEs to build business resilience by providing a one-stop shop for SMEs to make an internationally recognised climate commitment, access tools and resources and benefit from incentives designed to make it easier than ever for small and medium-sized businesses to cut carbon emissions, bring innovative green solutions to market and build business resilience.

Developed in collaboration with Oxford University’s Net Zero Climate Research and Engagement Team, the new practical tools and resources launched today on the SME Climate Hub will support small and medium-sized businesses to curb emissions and build business resilience. SMEs will now be able to take advantage of accessible tools and resources to help them achieve the SME Climate Commitment — halving emissions before 2030, achieving net zero emissions before 2050 and tracking progress annually. These tools and resources will allow SMEs to measure and manage emissions, increase resource efficiency and lower overheads, track and communicate progress and access climate action resources and services.

SMEs from 31 countries in all continents, including Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, USA, Canada, Philippines, India, Australia, France, Sweden, UK, South Africa, Uganda, Ghana and Mauritius, have already made the SME Climate Commitment and can now access practical tools and resources on the SME Climate Hub to help them start to take concrete action to future-proof their businesses.

Several major multinational corporations, including Ericsson, IKEA, Telia, BT Group, Unilever and Nestlé, that have set targets to halve emissions before 2030 and reach net-zero emissions in their value chains, have also committed to support the SME Climate Hub through a “1.5°C Supply Chain Leaders” group. These companies have made a firm commitment to include climate-related targets and performance in their supplier purchasing criteria — and to work with the SMEs in their supply chain to halve emissions before 2030 and deliver net-zero greenhouse emissions before 2050. They will also provide concrete tools, share knowledge and exchange best practices for implementing robust climate strategies through the SME Climate Hub.

1.5°C Supply Chain Leaders: Why are small businesses key to success on climate?

Ahead of the next round of climate negotiations (COP26) in Glasgow in November 2021, small and medium-sized businesses from around the world are being encouraged to make the SME Climate Commitment to both show leadership on climate action and benefit directly from a more sustainable business strategy.

“The SME Climate hub is enabling resource stretched SMEs to access the practical tools and information they need to remain in touch with the demands of their clients, communities and governments. The repository will help level the playing field for these vital businesses that want to take action but often struggle to know where to begin on the road to a sustainable future,” said John W.H. Denton AO, Secretary General, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

“All companies of all sizes should take action to halve the value chain emissions before 2030 – to be aligned with the latest science. To support rapid action, better tools and resources are required.  We are therefore happy to take the first step in launching an open platform for sharing of tools and resources for SMEs,” said Johan Falk, Co-Founder and Head of Exponential Roadmap Initiative.

“To mitigate against the worst impacts of climate change, it is critical that we halve emissions by 2030. That means that SMEs need to make a commitment to tackle climate change and take action on that commitment as quickly as possible. The practical tools and resources aggregated by the SME Climate Hub will provide SMEs with the fastest and smartest routes to act on climate. It  makes them attractive suppliers to the hundreds of multinationals that need SMEs emission reductions as part of their bold climate action plans,” said María Mendiluce, CEO, We Mean Business coalition.

“Solutions only matter to the planet if they are implemented so the team at Oxford Net Zero is so thrilled to be working alongside the SME Climate Hub to build a toolkit that can be used by small and medium-sized businesses around the world. As an independent academic institution our mission is to inform leaders with the best available science-based resources for taking climate action and this project is just one of many we hope to offer the public as part of this mission,”said Kaya Axelsson, Net Zero Policy Engagement Fellow, University of Oxford.

“The SME Climate Hub will support companies to expand their climate commitments across their entire value chain, enabling SMEs – which represent over 90% of the world’s businesses – to Race to Zero. This will be an exciting turning point, and we look forward to seeing exponential growth in corporate net zero commitments as we work towards COP26,” said Nigel Topping, UK High Level Climate Action Champion for COP26.

“As a small business owner, I have seen first hand the benefits of putting a sustainable future at the heart of my business strategy, but I also know that even when we desperately want to do well, as a small business, it is not always easy to know where to start. That is why I am so excited about the SME Climate Hub – it allows small business owners like myself to make a climate commitment with the confidence that they will be supported with practical resources and incentives,” said Gonzalo Munoz, CEO TriCiclos, Chilean High Level Climate Action Champion for COP25.

Podcast: Multilateral Perspective – A Roadmap for Sustainable Trade Finance