How to become a net zero business

Advantages of becoming a net zero business


Climate change is changing how the world does business due to unavoidable effects now, and in preparation for effects that may be on the way.

There are many benefits to your business of becoming net zero, beyond the positive effect on the environment of reducing your emissions.

Net zero business advantages

Recognition and marketing

If your business makes tough decisions and sets itself on a path to net zero, you should shout about it. Customers are becoming more and more climate-conscious and are attracted to products and services which have a low impact on the environment.

You can market the genuine environmental benefits of the actions taken by your business, and you can seek recognition through business awards - find out more about how to market your environmental credentials.

Businesses that make the SME Climate Commitment will have their name/logo featured on the SME Climate Hub and be recognised by the United Nations Race to Zero campaign.

Business in the Community celebrates local businesses which are demonstrating a significant commitment and contribution to climate action through their annual Responsible Business Awards.

Becoming more competitive

Businesses which can demonstrate an authentic commitment and progress towards net zero are more attractive to climate-conscious customers and can grow sales at the expense of competitors.

Public sector tendering competitions are increasingly setting business commitment to net zero as a minimum requirement to be considered for contracts. This is now the case for central UK government contracts over £5 million a year and is likely to become the norm for most, if not all, contracts between now and 2050.

Building business resilience

Climate change might appear to have greater impacts in other parts of the world, but businesses here will feel those effects. Extreme short-term weather and longer-term climate patterns can disrupt your supply chains.

Becoming a net zero business can go a long way to protecting against economic, climate and regulatory shocks now and in the future.

The UK Government publishes a climate change risk assessment (CCRA) every five years, which includes advice on adaptation actions for different sectors - you can download the Evidence for the third UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA3) Summary for Northern Ireland (PDF, 4.3MB).

Long-term cost reductions

Making changes to your way of doing business rarely comes without cost in the short term. However, you should seek to maximise the efficiencies which net zero businesses can find through reduced energy, waste and water costs. Businesses with minimal greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impacts may also find themselves able to avoid future carbon and waste taxes.

Attracting investment

Having a strong business strategy for the future with sustainability (both for business viability and the environment) at the centre is important for investors. Net zero plans are likely to become an essential element when making investment decisions – find out more about how to attract investment.

Early mover advantage 

The potential advantages listed above come with risks attached in investing and working to achieve them, but becoming a net zero business can put you ahead of others in your industry and help you to establish a larger market share while others catch up.