Small to medium sized businesses in Greater Manchester have until October 11 to sign up for an online programme which will help them to cut their carbon footprint and reduce costs.

‘Journey to Net Zero’ was launched by GC Business Growth Hub in June to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across Greater Manchester in the early stages of their sustainability journey.

Almost 50 firms have already benefitted from the fully-funded programme* and the Hub is now calling on others to sign up and take steps to cut their emissions.

Businesses will benefit from 10 different webinars, study material and one-to-one advice to help them reduce their operating costs, minimise risk and capitalise on new opportunities.

Earlier this year the government announced new measures requiring suppliers to commit to net zero in order to bid for major government contracts – and it is expected that this could be a requirement from other organisations.

GC Business Growth Hub is part of The Growth Company and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Places for Journey to Net Zero are limited and the last three cohorts were fully-subscribed.

Jenny Heil, Business Development Manager at Smith Goodfellow PR, said: “Each session is informative, providing an in-depth and rigorous exploration of the challenges and wider context.

“Where the programme really shines is in the practical tools and strategies it is providing within a realistic framework, enabling small businesses like ours to be proactive in making improvements without being over ambitious.”

Kat Mulhall, Events Manager at Victoria Baths Trust in Manchester, added: “Although becoming carbon neutral is important to our organisation, it’s a lot of work for a small team to put the measures into place.

“The Journey to Net Zero course has given me practical, step-by-step advice that has made it easy for me to lay the foundations for our organisation to be able to take action and achieve our goal of becoming carbon neutral.”

A recent report from IPCC, the world’s leading authority on climate science, said that human activity is changing the climate in unprecedented and irreversible ways.

Their landmark study warns of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding, and a key temperature limit at risk of being broken in just over a decade.

In its latest assessment report, it urged every business to act now to tackle climate change– a message echoed by the Hub.

Kevin Lambert, Resource Efficiency Lead at the Hub, said: “COP26 is just around the corner and it marks a milestone moment in our battle against climate change.

“We are at a critical point for our planet, and to safeguard its future we must all act now and we need our business community to play its part.

“Some of these changes will be visible, such as renewable energy and electric vehicles, but a lot of the work is behind the scenes in the way organisations operate.

“Our experts are here to support you in taking simple and practical steps to protect the planet, providing 1-21 advice to help our city-region become leaders in the fight against climate change.

“The Hub is committed to helping businesses across Greater Manchester to achieve net zero. The net zero transition is here, and I would urge businesses to join this innovative programme.”