As research shows that almost three quarters of small businesses don’t understand how the term ‘net zero’ applies to them, a training programme focused on helping businesses reduce their carbon emissions is being rolled out in the North of Tyne area.

Organised by Northumberland-based enterprise and business support organisation, NBSL, and funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority, the ToNetZero programme gives employees and business owners access to training and one-to-one support to help them join the North East’s drive to reach net zero.

“Research has shown that many small businesses are still in the dark when it comes to making changes which will reduce their carbon emissions and we know that many feel overwhelmed by terms like ‘net zero’ and ‘carbon footprint’,” said David Jackson, Skills Manager at NBSL.

“But we also know that businesses of all shapes and sizes have a vital role to play in our region’s transition to a new, low-carbon economy, and we want people to know that support is on offer to help them navigate the process of carbon reduction.”

A survey carried out on behalf of British Business Bank showed that 74% of small businesses don’t understand how environmental terms such as ‘net zero’, ‘carbon neutral’ and ‘carbon footprint’ apply to their businesses.

The ToNetZero programme helps people to understand these terms and guides them through the process of measuring their carbon footprint. It explores ways that businesses can reduce carbon emissions and supports each person to make an action plan for their own business.

One of the people who have already attended is Jack Nunnerley, consultant and trainer with Newcastle-based Absolute Quality Consultancy and Training. Commenting on the programme, in particular its workshop on reducing digital carbon emissions, Jack said: “Scrutinising our digital carbon footprint has been a helpful, eye-opening process. Everything we are doing not only helps us to reduce our digital carbon emissions and move towards net zero but is also helping to improve our efficiency and productivity.”

“The programme – which is fully funded, so doesn’t cost anything to attend – gives people access to some truly brilliant carbon reduction specialists and it helps people to realise that there are small, easy changes they can make to start with, from reducing digital file storage to using timers for office lighting.

“Anyone who attends the programme will leave with more knowledge and confidence around how they can put a carbon-reduction plan into action within their business, and make a real contribution the North East’s carbon reduction,” added David.

ToNetZero is open to residents of the North of Tyne area who are aged 19 or over, whether they are employees or business owners.