Few businesses in Shropshire can afford to ignore the implications of the global quest to achieve ‘net zero’.

Burying heads in the sand, and adopting the ‘It’s not going to impact on us’ approach could be a very costly mistake.

The UK will be playing host to the Conference of the Parties (COP) summit in November, when nearly 200 countries converge to agree an updated blueprint for climate action.

Between now and then, pressure will intensify to prove that the UK is taking its climate change responsibilities seriously.

So we can expect more political pressure and potential legislation, and an escalation of expectations on the business community’s environmental performance.

Shropshire Chamber of Commerce is committed to using its established network of experts and partners to help businesses access the support and advice they will require, and promote investment in enterprises which meet the agenda.

Accelerating and quantifying the journey to net zero will require an understanding of legislative and compliance obligations – not to mention financial support to help bridge any gaps which may appear.

Research from the British Chambers of Commerce suggests that four in five businesses across the West Midlands currently have some level of exposure to severe weather attributed to climate change, yet nearly half are taking no mitigating action.

Overall, it is calculated that the annual economic cost of greenhouse gases and air pollution to our region now tops £2.5 billion . . . a figure which is rising fast.

It is easy to sit in our beautiful rural county and dismiss this as merely an urban problem. But it’s not - we all have to do our bit.

Environmental performance has already become a key factor for many companies when they select their preferred supply chains and new business partners.

So it’s vital that Shropshire businesses are ticking these boxes, to remain competitive and protect or enhance their reputation.

There’s lots which businesses can do: for example, install LED lighting and insulation, update boilers and heating systems, reduce paper or plastic use, step up recycling, and shorten the transport journey of supply chains.

Support is already out there in the form of energy audits, efficiency assessments, and financial support for projects such as the installation of solar panels. We can help local businesses to find it.

Ask yourself this: if you’re currently buying a product or process from Land’s End, John O’Groats or even further afield, are you sure there isn’t an alternative solution on the doorstep?

If there is, then it’s surely a no-brainer to make the switch. Because not only will you be reducing your carbon footprint, you’ll also be giving an important vote of confidence to the Shropshire business community at the same time. It’s a win-win situation.