Reducing SME Carbon Emissions

Business challenge

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) identified that two-thirds of carbon emissions in their region come from businesses. Impact, along with GMCA, the Tyndall Centre, and the local electricity distribution service operator Electricity North West Ltd formed a collaboration to support small- and medium-sized business customers in reducing their carbon emissions.

What we did

75 in-depth interviewsExploring awareness of, use of, and barriers to carbon reduction strategies.
5 expert interviewsProviding expert consultancy and focus.
2 deliberative eventsFocus on barriers to strategies, testing potential messages, and how best to communicate these.
WorkshopCombining Impact’s work with the Tyndall Centre’s scientific review of impact on carbon reductions to finalise the core messages.

We were able to provide suggestions on how best to communicate the message through capitalising on heuristics that are at play in people’s behaviour (for example, through Social Norms and Loss Aversion) and the importance for individuals/companies to develop new habit loops by disrupting their current behaviours and adopt a new one. We also incorporated the COM-B behavioural change model to reduce the barriers associate with Capability, Opportunity and Motivation and advised on how to provide a clearer communication strategy about how to reduce carbon emissions.



4-5 key messages have been identified for each target sector:

  • Food retail
  • Non-food retail
  • Offices
  • Hotels
  • Warehouses and factories.

These messages describe the changes most likely to be implemented by business customers while having a significant effect on their carbon footprint. A phased roll out of the messages has begun.

GMCA are using the insight as part of their ‘Nature at the heart of‘ initiative which aims to engage with people and organisations across Greater Manchester to work together to lead change. Impact will be tracking the effectiveness, awareness and level of uptake.