Most Wiltshire businesses failing to take action on climate change


  • New study shows less than one fifth of businesses surveyed are tackling their carbon emissions effectively
  • Wiltshire Climate Alliance calls for stronger legal reporting requirements & better government guidance


    3rd April 2023.  Wiltshire Climate Alliance’s Business Engagement Group - a team of volunteer citizen-researchers - has produced a new report ‘How well are Wiltshire Businesses tackling the climate crisis?’  The answer is, could do much better!


    The study of 49 Wiltshire firms nominated by local WCA members found that only 18% - less than a fifth – produce good reports on tackling their greenhouse gas emissions. The study was designed to assess and score their environmental policy, targets and reported actions to reduce business carbon emissions. None of the companies surveyed achieved the highest possible score (10).


    However, commercial and business activity in Wiltshire accounts for 54% of direct carbon emissions across the county (source: WCA estimate from BEIS data set) so reducing this will be essential to achieving Net Zero. This figure does not include carbon emissions arising from the supply chain.


    Among the top performers in the study were medium-size businesses Good Energy, based in Chippenham, and Hobbs House Bakery, with several local stores. Large firms, defined as those having 250 employees or more, performed better than small and medium-sized businesses, which tend to publish minimal information on their carbon emissions or environmental impacts.


    Keith Freegard, leader of WCA’s Business Engagement group and the research project, said: “Business managers in Wiltshire’s small and medium business sector (SMEs) need to dramatically ‘up their game’ in terms of managing and reporting on the environmental impacts related to their activities. They should make reducing their emissions a top-priority business objective.


    “Business carbon reporting is a relatively recent concept. In that time, firms have focussed on the ‘easy wins’ such as switching to a green electricity supplier or installing solar panels on their roofs. But to achieve Wiltshire’s net zero target by 2030 they need to go much further, much faster and make deeper changes to their fundamental business structure and core activities.”


    Cherish Jackson, Sustainability Manager, Good Energy, said: “We’re joint top of the Which@ Eco Provider rankings and recommended by Friends of the Earth, and we are one of the few local companies to sign up to the global Science Based Targets initiative which commits us to an ambitious 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.

    “Everyone needs to play their part in talking the climate crisis, but especially employers who should be leading the way in showing what’s possible. Transparency is essential – impact reporting shows the progress being made and helps to maintains momentum.”


    WCA Member Group Salisbury Transition City (STC) has launched the Salisbury Green Business Awards to help local businesses understand how to operate sustainably and recognise and reward their progress. STC quotes recent research by Nielsen that two-thirds of consumers would pay more for a product if it came from a sustainable brand, and over 80% feel strongly that companies should help improve the environment.


    Eva McHugh from Salisbury Transition City said: “The Salisbury Green Business Awards are designed to provide SMEs and independents with the information needed to run a sustainable business. It’s all free and by going through our questionnaire you can quickly begin to develop a sustainability programme. Going green isn’t just a win for the environment, it’s a win for local businesses and the Wiltshire economy too.”


    To improve carbon reporting and therefore carbon reduction, WCA is calling for the following actions:

  • UK Government needs to extend the scope and scale of regulated carbon reporting to include at least 50% of all SMEs.
  • Larger firms must publish a complete carbon report and analyse their supply chain emissions (both upstream and downstream) to pick up those major carbon impacts of doing business.
  • Wiltshire Council must be given authority to engage more directly with local businesses to bring the largest sources of CO2 emissions across the county under control and minimise emissions from new business sites.
  • The procurement of goods and services by the Council must include closer scrutiny of the carbon metrics of potential suppliers.


    To download a copy of the report visit:


    WCA is inviting local businesses interested in learning more to a webinar which will take place at 12:00 on 26 April.

    To enrol, please visit