Find out about carbon emissions and the law

‘Carbon emissions’ is commonly used to refer to all the different greenhouse gases (GHGs) that contribute to global warming.

You may need to follow certain laws and regulations about carbon emissions depending on:

– where you are in the UK
– the size of your business
– the sector you’re working in

When you must measure and report carbon emissions

You don’t normally have to measure and report carbon emissions if you are a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME).

Providing sustainability information 

You may be asked for sustainability information by the public sector and any large businesses that you supply.

Public sector organisations and large businesses might ask for this so they can account for their greenhouse gas emissions in their annual reports.

As an SME, you might have to provide the following to access some supply chains:

  • Carbon Reduction Plan (CRP): a document that summarises your current emissions and your plans to reduce these
  • Net Zero Commitment: a public commitment (for example, published on your company website) to achieve net zero by 2050 or earlier

For example, businesses applying for government contracts of over £5 million per year must now have a Carbon Reduction Plan.

This could affect your business if you are involved in this size of contract.

Policies and regulations to reduce emissions 

The UK government’s ‘Powering up Britain’ strategy includes a list of policies to help the UK meet its legally-binding target of net zero by 2050. Some of these policies have implications for SMEs. 

For example, the Future Homes Standard and Future Buildings Standard aim to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions in new homes and non-domestic buildings. 

Both standards will have an impact on the construction industry and related supply chains when they come into effect in 2025.

Find out more about policies that could affect your business by talking to a trade association, the Federation of Small Businesses or your local Chamber of Commerce.

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