New partnership launched in bid to boost sustainable small firms

Small Business Britain is partnering with BT on a major new programme to help small firms boost their sustainability credentials, as joint research finds almost two-thirds of small firms feel they have minimal support to become ‘greener’.

The ‘BT Sustainability for Small Business’ programme, which launches this month, aims to empower small businesses across the UK to better understand their environmental impact and embrace more sustainable practices and opportunities for change. Consisting of research, policy engagement, and a series of webinars and training, the programme will be offered free to small businesses, including a series of six-week courses focusing on key sustainability topics, such as digital marketing, financial planning, and social media.

This comes as new research from Small Business Britain and BT, in partnership with Oxford Brookes Business School, found that despite a growing appetite from small firms to become more sustainable, 64% believe there is not enough support for them to do this. Small businesses have a key role to play in helping the UK achieve Net Zero, underlined by data from the British Business Bank, which estimates that half of UK business emissions are derived from small firms collectively.

Michelle Ovens CBE, founder of Small Business Britain, said: “With the growing climate crisis the importance of sustainability for small businesses is only set to rise and there are huge opportunities for smaller firms to drive positive change here and open up new opportunities for growth too.

"Small businesses need more support to play this important role, so we are excited to be launching this new programme with BT to provide greater guidance, support, and direction to help them upskill in this area.”

Delivered online, the ‘Sustainability for Small Business’ programme will help equip small firms with the necessary skills and knowledge required to thrive sustainably. Delivered by leading industry experts, the programme is also complemented by exclusive one-hour webinars on critical topics to provide deeper dives into key subjects such as measurement, accreditation, and financing.

Chris Sims, managing director, Small and Medium Business at BT, said: “Sustainability should be the cornerstone of all successful businesses, regardless of their size, but we know it can be hard for them to find the support they need. That is why we have launched this new initiative with Small Business Britain, designed to help the UK’s entrepreneurs cut their CO2 emissions, implement lasting sustainability principles, and drive forward the UK’s net zero agenda in a manageable way.”

As part of the wider partnership Small Business Britain and BT will also continue to host a series of ‘Netwalks’ aimed at giving entrepreneurs a chance to network with other local businesses on outdoor walks, to share ideas and experiences, and build business connections.

Additionally, Small Business Britain and BT will continue to offer free monthly webinars, helping businesses upskill in areas such as digital marketing, financial planning, and social media. And BT will also continue to support the nationwide Small Business Saturday roadshow ‘The Tour’, which will visit towns and cities across the country this autumn, alongside offering a digital programme of support and mentoring free to small businesses.

As part of BT’s ongoing work with the SME Climate Hub, this initiative underlines commitment to supporting businesses in their sustainability journey.

For more information about Small Business Britain, Netwalks, and ‘Sustainability for Small Business’ visit: