Sustainability

Smaller businesses have a vital role to play in the transition to a sustainable and net zero carbon economy. We are committed to supporting them through this journey with our finance programmes and by working with our delivery partners and finance sector as a whole. The low carbon transition must be inclusive, and we are ambitious to ensure that entrepreneurs can access the finance they need regardless of where and who they are.

It is only by embedding sustainability in its broadest sense across the Bank that we can deliver on our mission to drive sustainable growth and prosperity across the UK, and to enable the transition to a net zero economy, by improving access to finance for smaller businesses.

Tony Greenham MD Sustainability

Our Mission

To drive sustainable growth and prosperity across the UK, and the enable the transition to a net zero economy, by improving access to finance for smaller businesses.

Our environmental principle

We’re committed to supporting the UK’s transition to a net zero economy by 2050.

One of the Bank’s four strategic objectives is to drive sustainable growth, ensuring smaller businesses can access the right type of finance to start, survive and grow.

Another is to build a modern green economy by financing innovative and groundbreaking solutions to climate change.

For more information and details on the rest of our strategic objectives, learn about what we do.

Smaller businesses will be critical to the transformation into a low-carbon economy. This will depend on access to the right kind of finance.

Working with our network of more than 200 delivery partners, the Bank has an important role to play in both helping to finance sustainable technologies and their adoption by smaller businesses alongside developing a more sustainable financial ecosystem in the UK.

Business owners looking to make their business more sustainable can visit the Sustainability section of our Finance Hub.

The Finance Hub offers independent and impartial information on a variety of subjects for smaller businesses.

The British Business Bank also supports the SME Climate Commitment, which you can learn more about at the SME Climate Hub.

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Our social principal

We want to unlock the potential of our people and break down barriers in access to finance.

Learn more about our efforts in Diversity, Inclusion and Equity at British Business Bank.

Our governance principle

We promote fairness, accountability, responsibility, and transparency in our own operations and those of our suppliers, Delivery Partners, and the smaller businesses we support.

We're a government-owned Economic Development Bank, managed independently.

As a public authority, we are committed to the highest standards of corporate governance and accountability and are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

For more information, please visit our Transparency page which includes Terms of Reference for our Board Committees.

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Our governance principle

We promote fairness, accountability, responsibility, and transparency in our own operations and those of our suppliers, Delivery Partners, and the smaller businesses we support.

We're a government-owned Economic Development Bank, managed independently.

As a public authority, we are committed to the highest standards of corporate governance and accountability and are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

For more information, please visit our Transparency page which includes Terms of Reference for our Board Committees.

A conceptual image of a boardroom meeting taking place in a forest

Our impact

As a government-owned financial institution with the task of supporting access to finance for smaller businesses, the Bank has commissioned independent economic impact evaluations for most of its funding programmes.

While these have historically considered the Bank’s economic impact, looking for example at the number, quality, and geographic distribution of jobs created and gross value-added, more recently we have started to include considerations of the environmental impact too.

Impact evaluations tend to take place around 3-5 years after a programme’s initial establishment, to allow enough time for the funded businesses to experience the impact of the funding.

To access the published impact evaluation reports, please visit the Bank’s Research library.

The Bank has also published several research reports related to its environmental and social objectives, most recently Smaller Businesses and the transition to net zero and What Works – Improving Diversity in Venture Capital Funding.

The rest of the Bank’s research can also be found in the Research library.

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Our sustainability reporting and disclosures

This year, the Bank included a Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures’ (TCFD) in its Annual Report and Accounts (PDF, 7mb) for the first time.

This includes reporting on emissions generated by our own operations, which the Bank is committed to reducing over time.

We are proud to be a member of the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF) and an active participant in the UK Chapter’s Business Loans and Unlisted Equity Working Group.

The Bank is particularly engaged with Bankers for Net Zero’s ‘Mobilising SMEs for Climate Action’ workstream.

We also co-chair Project Perseus.

The Bank is also a signatory of the Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI).

We commit to disclosing our activities related to these principles and progress made on an annual basis to the PRI.

    The six Principles of Responsible Investment

    Principle 1: We will incorporate ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes.

    Principle 2: We will be active owners and incorporate ESG issues into our ownership policies and practices.

    Principle 3: We will seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest.

    Principle 4: We will promote acceptance and implementation of the Principles within the investment industry.

    Principle 5: We will work together to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the Principles.

    Principle 6: We will each report on our activities and progress towards implementing the Principles.

    We are signatories to the UN Global Compact, which is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative with a call to companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption and take actions that advance societal goals.

    Conceptual photo of stacks of coins and green shoots growing from them into a green earth