As Egypt’s COP27 climate summit kicks off, insurance provider Aviva reveals the attitude of UK SMEs towards tackling the climate crisis.
Aviva has launched a campaign for the UK to be the most climate-ready large economy by 2030. Aviva has also released its first ‘Climate-Ready Index‘. The framework to measure how influential countries are progressing in climate mitigation, resilience and adaptation. The report comes soon after new research highlights the risk that UK SMEs could pull back from taking climate action to reduce their impact on the climate.
Aviva commissioned YouGov to carry out a survey of 253 business leaders. The survey assessed the general attitude towards climate readiness for UK SMEs. Seventy-two per cent of UK businesses said they knew that they need to get climate-ready. However, only 36 per cent of UK companies said they would take action. A similar 34 per cent said that they had a structured plan to reduce their carbon footprint.
Aviva found that one major obstacle to taking action was the current economic crisis. Around 68 per cent of SMEs agreed that dealing with the cost-of-living crisis was “a greater business priority than implementing climate policies”. Almost half (48 per cent) of the UK companies surveyed also said that the cost of taking action was too high. Furthermore, 34 per cent of these companies had paused investments to prevent climate change because of the current economic climate.
Setting the targets
As part of the initiative, Aviva has set out a number of targets and plans for the UK government and financial institutions. The insurance provider set out the following:
- Ensuring countries have binding net-zero ambitions and plans
- Ensuring regulators incorporate climate risks
- Building climate resilience
- Protecting nature and biodiversity
- Enhancing international cooperation
Amanda Blanc, group chief executive officer of Aviva explained the targets set for the UK. She said: “I want the UK to be the most climate-ready large economy in the world by 2030, as the country moves towards its net-zero targets.
“Being climate-ready goes way beyond the critical work of cutting emissions. It’s going to take leadership from government and business so that people and communities can be much better prepared across a range of areas from greener buildings to protecting biodiversity and expanding carbon storage.
“Current financial pressures are understandably making it harder for many businesses to invest in climate action right now, even though they recognise they need to do more. Government and bigger businesses have a responsibility to help SMEs get climate-ready.”