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Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are not yet on the path to #netzero. There are well over 1 million of them in the UK. For policy makers they are both hard to reach and easy to avoid.

SMEs in the UK are responsible for about half of business energy use and the related greenhouse gas emissions. They also employ around half the workforce. However, they are often neglected by government policy, probably because there is an extremely wide range of SMEs with very different priorities, needs and ways of doing things. There are only 7,700 large enterprises in the UK, whilst there are well over 1 million SMEs (excluding homebased enterprises). It is a lot easier for government to engage with the larger enterprises than the small enterprises, particularly the micro businesses (under 10 employees). They are often “hard to reach” because they are busy producing goods and services and cannot afford to employ dedicated strategy and public relations staff. The large enterprises are often required to register their activities with the government (e.g. if there are significant greenhouse gas emissions) and so are relatively easy to find and understand, in contrast SMEs are “easy to avoid” and government may not understand their priorities and needs.

Peter was drawn to help build understanding of the SME landscape and has chosen to focus on small bakery enterprises. As both “makers” and “sellers” they carry out activities that may chime with many other SMEs in the wider population. The presentation attached below sets out the research approach and initial findings.

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