A new SME Climate Hub will support small- and medium-sized businesses to curb carbon emissions to increase competitiveness.

A coalition of major organisations has announced the launch of  the ground breaking one-stop shop climate action platform for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to curb carbon emissions, build business resilience and gain a competitive advantage.

The SME Climate Hub – 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 – launches today at the 2020-edition of New York Climate Week.

The SME Climate Hub is made possible by the We Mean Business coalition’s partnership with Amazon. Announced in June, a key part of the partnership is focused on mobilising supply chains, including SMEs, to take and scale-up measurable and direct action on climate change.

The SME Climate Hub will encourage small- and medium-sized companies to commit to halving greenhouse gas emissions before 2030 and to reaching net-zero emissions before 2050. SMEs making the commitment – which will be globally recognised by the United Nations Race to Zero campaign – will be able to take advantage of accessible tools and resources to help them reduce emissions and build business resilience. The platform will couple these tailored resources with opportunities for businesses to unlock direct commercial incentives.

Despite making up approximately 90% of business worldwide and employing over two billion people, SMEs have been largely underserved by climate action initiatives to date. In establishing the SME Climate Hub, the co-hosts of the platform see an opportunity to enable emissions reductions at large scale – and, in doing so, build bottom-up resilience to climate risks in essential global supply chains.

Recognising that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have disrupted small businesses throughout the world, the initiative will place a strategic emphasis on enabling SMEs to leverage climate action as a means of winning and retaining business, reducing costs, enhancing access to capital and increasing business preparedness to external shocks.

Several major multinational corporations, including Ericsson, IKEA, Telia, BT Group and Unilever, that have set targets to reach net-zero emissions in their value chains have committed to support the SME Climate Hub through a new “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 hand in hand with the SMEs in their supply chain to 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.

ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said:“Addressing climate change has never been so business critical. We are delighted to partner with like-minded organisations to bring to life the SME Climate Hub and help support the companies that make up the backbone of our global economy, in the face of the increasing risks of climate change. We want to make it as easy as possible for small and medium-sized businesses to protect and grow their business.”

“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.

Henrik Elm, Global Supply Manager at IKEA said: “IKEA is committed to working closely together with our supply chain partners to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions from production by 80% by 2030. We are proud to be a 1.5°C Supply Chain Leader and to contribute to facilitating the climate journey for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). We will not be able to limit climate change by working alone. Only by working together will we show that it is possible.”

Johan Falk, Co-Founder and Head of Exponential Roadmap Initiative said: “Our vision is to mobilise millions of small- and medium-sized enterprises to accelerate climate action. This is the start of a journey and we first make it possible for SMEs to commit to halve emissions before 2030. A first strategic resource is the 1.5C Business Playbook, a guide that helps SMEs to develop a climate strategy anchored in the latest science and start taking action. Along the way, the goal is to provide tools and resources which both simplify and make it beneficial for SMEs to cut emissions and provide the next generation green solutions.”

Maria Mendiluce, CEO ofthe We Mean Business coalition said: “Mobilising SMEs to take action is critical. It is fantastic to see the SME Climate Hub making it easy for small- and medium-sized companies to take action. At the We Mean Business coalition we have seen large companies gain competitive advantage over their peers through taking climate action. SMEs with climate action plans will position themselves to become the most attractive suppliers to the hundreds of multinationals with decarbonisation plans as well as to the growing number of investors now addressing climate related risk.”

Gonzalo Munoz, CEO TriCiclos, Chilean High Level Climate Action Champion for COP25 said: “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.”