Starting your net-zero journey as an SME

Edinburgh and Scotland have set some of the most ambitious targets for the reduction of area-wide emissions in the world, with the Scottish Government having set a net zero target of 2045, and the City of Edinburgh Council aiming to achieve the same by 2030.

Edinburgh is a thriving city and is home to businesses from all industries who are driving innovation and solutions to help tackle the climate crisis and support the city’s net zero target by 2030.

However, we understand that taking action and transitioning to net zero can be challenging and can seem daunting. To help with this I have put together some top tips to help you start your net zero journey.

Measure your company emissions

Measuring your emissions is the first step for any business. This helps to create an emissions baseline which you can use to set reduction targets. At this stage businesses need to consider what direct emissions they produce such as the combustion of fuel in assets the company operates, the emissions from the generation of energy purchased as well as emissions from purchased goods and services.

There are many online tools available to help you calculate your company’s emissions. Check out the Net Zero Edinburgh website for some examples.

Set up and identify green champions in the company

Once you have your baseline for emissions companies should look at setting up a green team who will lead on activity. It is important when setting up a green team to make sure people from different departments are represented to ensure that all departments are on board with your net zero journey and are part of discussions and decision making.

Create a plan and set targets

After considering your baseline measurement you can begin to create a plan for the company and start to set targets to reduce your emissions. Committing to a target will help drive and deliver change and show your commitment to becoming net zero to stakeholders and employees.

Take action and reduce emissions

With a plan and targets in place it’s now time to put everything into action. Focus on reducing emissions from activities your business has direct control over first and then look at reducing your wider emissions. You can begin by starting small and making incremental changes which can increase year on year.

Sign up to the Edinburgh Climate Compact 

Businesses in Edinburgh can also sign up to the Edinburgh Climate Compact. The Edinburgh Climate Compact is a commitment made by businesses and organisations in Edinburgh to take action to help significantly reduce the city’s carbon emissions. It outlines clear action areas for businesses to focus on and commit to, allowing businesses to tailor their activity to their own particular business. Businesses of all sizes can sign up to the Climate Compact with support available for SMEs.

Work with your supply chain

Most businesses will have emissions associated with their supply chain that they would like to reduce. It is important to work with your supply chain and to be transparent with them on your net zero plans, what your targets are and what actions you are taking. You should also support your supply chain to help them reduce their own emissions.

If you would like further support on starting your net zero journey please find more information and useful resources at or email