Can SMEs lead the North East’s low carbon agenda?

Uploaded by in NEL News & Insights on September 29, 2021

In just over a month, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) will begin in Glasgow. The widely awaited summit will bring together country leaders, dignitaries and environmental experts to discuss climate issues and mitigation strategies on a global scale.

Complimentary to these governmental decisions and international strategies however, is the positive change already being driven by SMEs. A recent report from the Enterprise Research Centre (UK) has found that of the UK based SMEs surveyed 52% of them say ‘reducing environmental impact’ is a priority for their business.

Some of the main practical actions already underway were reported as changed processes/transport (54%), a move to renewable energy (41%), environmental training (36%) and new low carbon products/services (35%).

Investing in low carbon adoption

Whilst there are positive actions being taken, one of the barriers to low carbon adoption in SMEs was found to be access to finance.

As impact investors in the North East of England, NEL Fund Managers has already invested in a number of local businesses helping to reduce the carbon emissions they themselves produce (the most frequent of which mirror the interventions reported above), as well as a number of purpose led businesses who are impacting the wider community both at a local and national level. (See our investment case studies on GAP Ice and GME Industry as examples).

With the likes of Nissan and its electric vehicle supply chain, and Port of Blyth’s leading offshore energy support bases, the region is already in a positive place to lead the country’s low carbon agenda. Further, we believe that the purpose-led drive and determination of North East SMEs will propel that potential further.

£3million ringfenced to invest in businesses leading the North East’s low carbon agenda

‘Climate change is the greatest risk facing us all’ . . . ‘but while the impacts of climate change are devastating, advances in tackling it are leading to cleaner air, creating good jobs, restoring nature and at the same time unleashing economic growth’ (, p.9).

For those reasons NEL Fund Managers has ringfenced £3million, from the two elements of the North East Fund that it manages, to invest in businesses within Durham, Northumberland and Tyne & Wear who are leading the region’s low carbon agenda. So, if your business is adopting strategies aligned with combatting the climate crisis, we would urge you to progress those plans and speak to the NEL team about the finance and support available to help you do so.

For more information on NEL’s investment criteria and business support options, visit or contact the investment team on 0345 369 7007.



Photo by Appolinary Kalashnikova on Unsplash


« Back to Insight