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Date updated: 4/04/2024

The City of London Corporation wants to support small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the Square Mile to reach net zero. 99% of businesses in the UK are SMEs so their role in climate action is really important. However, the road to net zero can be overwhelming for smaller organisations as they don’t have the resources that bigger businesses can dedicate to this.

The City Corporation has partnered with Heart of the City a charity which supports SMEs to be a force for good. Using workshops, masterclasses and expert mentoring, it helps SMEs take their first steps towards making responsible business a meaningful part of their business plans.

Heart of the City runs Climate for SMEs: 4 Steps to Action which connects SMEs with experts in sustainability, climate action and net zero from a wide range of industries. In four modules, businesses will understand the basics of net zero, build their business case for it, measure their carbon footprint and create a net zero action plan. The course is online, so businesses can learn at their own pace, and is free. Heart of the City has an  action toolkit and runs free webinars about net zero topics for SMEs outside the Square Mile.

 Quantem is a firm that completed the course.

"We’ve found the Heart of the City’s climate course to be very helpful and supportive both in terms of personal support and IT learning platforms. Being part of the Heart of the City course has helped us focus and drive our net zero carbon plans and supporting a more sustainable Square Mile. So far, with the support of Heart of the City, we’ve calculated our carbon baseline, completed our carbon audit, identified our carbon mitigation strategy and set our target for reducing our carbon footprint with sound methodology informing this. We’ve already seen carbon savings yielded and continue to strive to do better"

Chris Patrick, Parter at Quantem

The course is free and SMEs based or operating in the Square Mile can join at any time. There are four modules:

  • Jargon busting and demystification
  • Building the business case
  • Measuring your carbon footprint
  • Net zero action plan and next steps

Businesses do not need to start the course at the first module, meaning any SME can take part, whether they have never thought about net zero before or they have already taken some steps and started the journey. Learning online means businesses can complete the course at their own pace and a mix of webinar styles means people will connect with experts in sustainability from bigger businesses, as well as other SME leaders who are in a similar position. They will also have access to Heart of the City’s Net Zero Programme Manager to get personalised support. Business can apply for a free place on the course.

This online toolkit is free to download for anybody. It was developed by Heart of the City in partnership with some of the net zero experts in their ambassador network, especially for SMEs. It follows the same four modules of the course, and businesses can use the practical resources to measure their carbon footprint and create an action plan that will eventually get them to net zero.

Heart of the City regularly runs webinars on net zero topics such as measuring your carbon footprint, reducing digital emissions and avoiding greenwashing. These short webinars are hosted by the Heart of the City team and the experts in their ambassador network. They are free and open to anybody but designed with SMEs in mind. Check out their upcoming webinars.

Besides climate action support, the City Corporation offers a wide range of assistance and advice for smaller businesses. You can find more information about some of our services, programmes and resources in our support SMEs and Start-ups page.