Google and Planet Mark launch free net zero training scheme for small businesses

Google and Planet Mark launch free net zero training scheme for small businesses

Programme delivered as part UK government campaign to help small and medium-sized businesses halve their emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by mid-century

Tech giant Google and sustainability certification group Planet Mark have teamed up to deliver a new training programme for the UK government that will help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) slash their emissions.

Announcing the programme yesterday, the partners said it would provide practical and “digitally-focused” tips for how smaller firms can decarbonise, from sourcing renewable energy and developing more sustainable supply chains to adopting paperless billing and cloud-enabled technologies.

They said the training programme had been designed for small businesses at the beginning of their “journey towards sustainability” and would have an emphasis on how a sustainability strategy can drive business performance.

The course will draw from Planet Mark’s sustainability expertise and will be delivered through Digital Garage, Google’s online digital skills training platform.

Steve Malkin, founder and CEO of Planet Mark, said the partnership “brings together the best of sustainability, innovation and technology to help SMEs on their path to net zero and see the benefits it brings to their businesses”.

The scheme is part of the UK government’s Business Climate Leaders campaign, which was launched in May to encourage SMEs and ‘micro’ firms to cut their emissions in half by 2030 before then reaching net zero by 2050 at the latest.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy,” said Google UK managing director Ronan Harris. “By focusing on their climate impact they can play a critical role in helping the UK to reach its climate goals and show leadership on a topic their customers care deeply about.”

Companies that complete the training will be encouraged to make a pledge to achieve net zero emissions by signing up to a ‘SME climate commitment’ hosted on the UK government’s dedicated SME climate hub. Firms that sign up will then be recognised by the United Nations Race to Zero campaign, according to the update.

Andrew Griffith, the Conservative MP who was appointed the UK’s net zero business champion for COP26 last November, applauded the launch of the new programme, emphasising that small businesses had a major role to play in the UK’s drive towards net zero emissions.

“A crucial component of our efforts to ensure we achieve net zero emissions by 2050 will be the actions of our fantastic and innovative small businesses across the country,” he said. “Google’s and Planet Mark’s new training programme – part of our ‘Together for our Planet’ campaign – will give business owners the information and expertise they need to cut their carbon footprint, and make a considerable difference in our fight against climate change.”

Small businesses make up 99 per cent of the UK’s business community and generate £2.2tr of revenue annually, and as such it is critical that SMEs slash their emissions if the country is to meet its overarching net zero emissions goals and large corporates are to meet their supply chain decarbonisation targets.

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