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SSE Energy Solutions to fund sustainability drive for 4,500 SMEs

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SSE Energy Solutions has partnered with sustainability-as-a-service platform Zellar to help small-medium enterprises (SMEs) across the UK to decarbonise.

  • Local authorities are required to register their interest to allow SMEs in their areas to access the digital platform.
  • The initiative aims to offset 27,000 tonnes of carbon and save £6.3 million in energy costs in its first year.
  • SMEs play an important part in the UK economy but many of them need external help to become more sustainable.

SSE Energy Solutions will provide 100 free annual Zellar subscriptions to 15 local authorities. Zellar has pledged to donate another 100 licences.

Businesses will access the free tool through their local authority

Local authorities taking part will each be required to fund a further 100 subscriptions, meaning that 300 SMEs from that area will get access to a free licence – for a total of 4,500 across the UK.

Local authorities are required to register their interest before the end of March 2023 and will be selected on a first come, first served basis.

As well as helping individual businesses reducing the carbon footprint, the initiative will provide data to officials so they can track sustainability progress in their region.

In 2022, the East Midlands Chamber subsided 400 annual licences as part of its Net Zero Accelerator programme, supported by the UK Community Renewal Fund.

How Zellar works

Zellar is a digital platform that helps businesses calculate their carbon footprint, such as emissions resulting from energy use, shipping and employee travel – Scopes 1 and 2. It is also working on a tool for Scope 3, supply chain emissions.

It suggests practical steps to reduce them, tracking progress and benchmarking against comparable companies. 

Zellar also provides a series of programmes to offset emissions. It claims that businesses can cut their direct emissions by 50% by using its app.

Crystal Doors, a manufacturer based in Rochdale, in England, cut its overall carbon emissions by 30%. Owner Richard Hagan said: “We’ve taken huge steps towards carbon neutrality, and with behavioural changes and investment in green technologies we’ve also been able to reduce our electricity usage by 78%.”

All businesses need to become more sustainable but some of them don’t know how

All companies are needed to play their part in the path to a more sustainable world, but the smaller ones often do not have the resources to take action.

The six million SMEs in the UK are estimated to account for around half of the total corporate turnover, at £2.3 trillion. They employ 16.3 million people across the country – 61% of the working population.

They are therefore a key element of the UK economy and will be vital to its decarbonisation. 

Gary Styles, chief executive and founder of Zellar, said: “Currently most SMEs don’t even know where to start. At the same time the ‘cost-of-doing-business crisis’ is a threat to small businesses throughout the UK.”

Improving energy efficiency will also lead to lower bills, which has been a major concern amid the inflationary spike of 2022.

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