Trade for prosperity

Any business involved in international trade, whether importing, exporting or part of the supply chain is faced with a rapidly changing regulatory environment. In particular manufacturers, distributors, and SMEs need to keep up with the changing global sanctions due to the Russia Ukraine crisis. 

Coriolis Technologies and the Institute of Export and International Trade have partnered to launch an online sanctions tracker for exporting businesses anywhere in the world to help them navigate the complexity of the export restrictions imposed on trade with Russia, and Belarus. 

The dynamic tool is free to use and covers US, EU and UK sanctions against companies and individuals, dual-use goods and specifically sanctioned goods.

The Tees Valley has fast become the go-to region to develop clean gas, hydrogen and low carbon technologies, our growing reputation as the UK’s premier location for clean energy is evident in our recent successes.


Net Zero Teesside has long been established as the driving force in delivering Teesside as the country’s first decarbonised industrial cluster. The region’s net zero ambitions will create the jobs of the future and transform the local economy. The Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority is building a new Net Zero Innovation Centre in partnership with Teesside University. Our growing and influential innovation hub, set to be a Centre of Excellence at Tees Advanced Manufacturing Park (TeesAMP), is supported by research and innovation organisations TWI and the Materials Processing Institute.


The Tees Valley is leading the way in the clean energy revolution. It has been singled out by government as the place at the centre of the UK’s future economy due to its optimism and ambition. As it is backed by millions of pounds of investment and the UK’s largest freeport, and it is easy to see why.

Not only is it both geographically and industrially suited for large-scale decarbonisation, it is also home to Teesworks, the UK’s largest Freeport. 

The region has the UK’s most developed and deliverable carbon capture, utilisation and storage project, Net Zero Teesside, led by bp and four other major oil and gas companies. The Tees Valley also produces more than half of the UK’s hydrogen, making it a natural choice for the UK’s first hydrogen transport hub and bp’s “blue” hydrogen facility, set to be the largest in the UK. Other pioneering hydrogen projects by bp, Kellas Midstream and Northern Gas Networks are also being developed in the region.

This integrated approach to decarbonisation and net zero puts the Tees Valley cluster at the forefront of the sector and boosts the region’s ambitions to become the UK’s clean energy powerhouse.



The Tees Valley is the leading export-focused and energy-intensive industrial cluster in the UK. Centred around a large port, it has easy access to the North Sea Basin, with its storage capabilities, and Dogger Bank, the world’s largest offshore wind development. This makes the Tees Valley an ideal place for developing the world’s first net zero industrial cluster by 2040.

The area has a rich history of industry and innovation, complemented by a highly skilled and readily available workforce, specialising in manufacturing, engineering and offshore industries.

It has the UK’s most well-connected Freeport, offering immediate connectivity via rail, road, sea and air as well as an international airport providing a gateway to global markets. 

NEP will support levelling up – protecting many thousands of existing jobs across the Teesside and Humber regions, including those in Net Zero Teesside and Zero Carbon Humber, two of the country’s leading industrial decarbonisation consortia. It is also well placed to deliver against the UK Government’s evaluation criteria: deliverability, emissions reduction potential, economic benefits, cost consideration, and learning and innovation.





The Tees Valley leads the way in hydrogen production and storage, with 50% of the UK’s hydrogen being produced here. The investment being made in the region in hydrogen is second to none, with a number of exciting projects being delivered over the next ten years.



Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) is widely acknowledged as the only viable technology able to reduce industrial CO₂ emissions and achieve cost-effective decarbonisation across industry sectors. Net Zero Teesside will see the development of an offshore pipeline that will capture carbon dioxide emissions and transport them to be permanently stored deep underground.


The planned redevelopment at Teesworks is seeing the construction of a 1km quay to specifically service the offshore energy sector. The quay will also provide instant access to more than 500 acres of manufacturing, storage and mobilisation facilities.

The SeAH Wind facility, part of the Teesside Freeport, will sit on a 90-acre site adjacent to Teesworks’ £107million heavy-lift South Bank Quay. Its 1.13million sq ft footprint is four times the size of the Riverside Stadium and, when complete, it will be the largest facility of its type in the world.

The factory services the offshore wind sector, producing monopiles that form the foundations of offshore wind turbine construction, and will create 1,500 jobs in the supply chain and during construction when work begins in July. Once operational, a further 750 roles will be created.


Net Zero Teesside Power (NZT Power) is a first-of-a-kind fully integrated gas-fired power and carbon capture project and a key driving force behind plans to make Teesside the UK’s first decarbonized industrial cluster.

The scheme is the Government’s preferred project to lead the UK’s net zero ambitions and will see up to 10million tonnes of CO2 emissions captured each year – equivalent to the emissions associated with the annual energy use of three million UK homes – and stored, as part of the Northern Endurance Partnership, under the North Sea via a series of pipes. NZT Power’s proposed gas turbine electricity generating station will have an electrical output of up to 860 megawatts (MW) of low carbon electricity, enough to power up to 1.3m homes per year. 

The scheme aims to be up and running within the next five years and could create 4,000 direct jobs during its construction and add £300 million to the economy each year.


The Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP) enables the net zero vision by providing the common infrastructure needed to capture and transport CO2 from carbon emitting projects, such as Net Zero Teesside Power, to secure offshore storage in the North Sea. In October 2021, The Northern Endurance Partnership’s East Coast Cluster, which includes Net Zero Teesside Power, was selected as a priority cluster in phase-1 of the UK Government’s Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) cluster sequencing process.

The East Coast Cluster will be enabled by the Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP), the partnership developing the common infrastructure needed to transport CO2 from emitters across the Humber and Teesside to secure offshore storage in the Endurance aquifer in the Southern North Sea.


Its core mission is to accelerate the digitalisation of UK trade, the implementation of open systems based on common international standards and a digital trade system that is paperless, sustainable and secure.



The Centre for Digital Trade and Innovation (C4DTI) is an ICC United Kingdom-led, global initiative based in the Tees Valley. C4DTI is a public, private partnership led by industry and supported by government. Its core mission is to accelerate the digitalisation of UK trade, the implementation of open systems based on common international standards and a digital trade system that is paperless, sustainable and secure. C4DTI will be impartial and technology agnostic in approach and have the capability to engage industry of all sizes and sectors, identify and remove policy barriers and pilot practical solutions to help drive innovation, technology solutions and standards adoption at scale across the whole trading system.


The trading system suffers from fragmented, unconnected platforms and systems and a lack of common digital standards and laws requiring modernisation and alignment. The system is unnecessarily costly, complex and slow and reduces access to SME trade finance. Currently, there is no mechanism to join up initiatives, accelerate and scale solutions, or implement the ICC Digital Standards Initiative framework. Without a coordinating mechanism, initiatives will continue to be fragmented, outcomes patchy and adoption of standards and tech solutions slow.


Digitalisation will enable us to deliver a more inclusive, sustainable and greener trading system, where more SMEs can participate in trade, trade finance is more accessible and paper is no longer required. C4DTI provides a unique opportunity to make this a reality and meet the UK government’s ambition to have a modern, open trading system with the rest of the world. Other nations and regions such as Australia, China, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Thailand, APEC, ASEAN and Africa are moving quickly to capitalise on the benefits of digital trade. This is an opportunity for the UK to develop the capability needed to be a model of best practice and work with others.


The approach of C4DTI depends on the establishment and maintenance of ecosystems of trade stakeholders. We will follow proven methodologies based on the principles illustrated here.

The approach of C4DTI depends on the establishment and maintenance of ecosystems of trade stakeholders. We will follow proven mathodologies based on the principles illustrated here.

C4DTI will be impartial and technology agnostic in approach and have the capability to engage industry of all sizes and sectors, identify and remove policy barriers and pilot practical solutions to help drive innovation, technology solutions and standards adoption at scale.


There are three central pillars to delivering success:

Establishing the right, underpinning legal environment

Ensuring information can move through the system in standardised formats

Ensuring governments and industry across the whole trading system adopt the right technology solutions at scale


C4DTI will use proven innovation ecosystem and stakeholder engagement models



International Chamber of Commerce UK (ICC United Kingdom) will lead and coordinate C4DTI, provide an impartial forum for government and industry to work together and ensure initiatives are connected at a local, national and international level.

ICC is the world’s largest business organisation representing 45 million companies with 1 billion employees in over 100 countries. ICC is the only business organisation with UN Observer Status. It acts as a leading voice for business at the United Nations,  G20, World Health Organization, World Trade Organization and other major international institutions. ICC has three central roles:

  • Promote inclusive, sustainable, greener trade
  • Provide the rules and standards that self-regulate international business
  • Help companies and states settle international disputes

ICC United Kingdom is the representative voice for ICC in the UK and provides a mechanism for UK industry to engage effectively in shaping international policy, standards and rules. We are a leading voice on digital trade ecosystems, act as the ICC Representative to The Commonwealth and Co-Chair the Legal Reform Advisory Board at the ICC Digital Standards Initiative.


The ICC Digital Standards Initiative will be a Global Knowledge Partner to C4DTI and provide the framework for open, interoperable trade.

The DSI was established in 2020 by Enterprise Singapore, the Asian Development Bank and ICC to establish a globally harmonised, digitised trade environment to reduce cost, complexity and inefficiency, reduce the trade finance gap, strengthen resilience across global supply chains and deliver a more inclusive, sustainable trade system in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The initiative works with all stakeholders including companies, financial institutions, industry groups, intergovernmental organisations and standard setting bodies


  • Unifying digital standards efforts across alliances, industry forums, standards development organisations, companies, and government agencies
  • Advocating for legal harmonisation and the adoption of the UNCITRAL’s Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records
  • Enhancing access to coherent standards that will accelerate the digitisation of trade-related processes across sectors and borders
  • Modernising the rules for trade to enable all supply chain actors to adapt to an interoperable world
  • Seeding digitisation with all stakeholders from private sector and public sector to build the case for change and drive adoption


Teesside Freeport provide a long-term physical base for C4DTI and support research regarding digital trade and utilisation of customs facilitation.

The Teesside Freeport covers 4,500 acres and is the largest and first operational Freeport in the UK. It will create more than 18,000 jobs and add billions of pounds to the local economy over the next five years. The Freeport is a secure customs zone where business can be carried out inside a country’s land border, but where different customs rules apply. It reduces administrative burdens and tariff controls, provides relief from duties and import taxes, and eases tax and planning regulations. The Freeport will enhance trade and investment in the region, promote regeneration, boost growth and high-skilled jobs, and increase innovation and productivity in the region. 


The Tees Valley Combined Authority Group includes the Combined Authority itself, Teesside International Airport and Teesworks, the UK’s largest industrial site, which includes South Tees Development Corporation.

TVCA is providing start-up funding and support for C4DTI

The Tees Valley Combined Authority was created in April 2016. Its purpose is to drive economic growth and job creation in the area. It is a partnership of five authorities; Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees, working closely with the Local Enterprise Partnership, wider business community and other partners to make local decisions to support the growth of our economy. Under the devolution deal with Government, we have taken on responsibilities previously held by Westminster and Whitehall; for transport, infrastructure, skills, business investment, housing and culture and tourism. On the 6th of May 2021, the people of the Tees Valley re-elected Ben Houchen, (Conservative) as the Tees Valley Mayor. He chairs the Combined Authority.


The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) will support the development of effective policy solutions to support digital trade, integrate existing digital certificates of origin with digital system developments and transmission of trade data, ensure existing digital documentation systems keep pace with changes in the international digital trade environment and support the digitalisation of commercial trade documents. 

The BCC sits at the heart of a unique global network of UK trading businesses. The network represent tens of thousands of businesses of all shapes and sizes, which employ 6 million people across the UK. It also includes a powerful international Network with over 70 British Chambers of Commerce and business groups located in every continent of the world, directly linked to UK-based Chambers of Commerce.

The network exists to support and connect companies, bringing together firms to build new relationships, share best practice, foster new opportunities and provide practical support to help member businesses trade locally, nationally and globally. Because the BCC network sits at the heart of local business communities in every part of the UK, it is uniquely placed to help businesses of every size and sector to thrive.


Teesside University will be a key research and innovation partner, providing expertise, facilities and talent to the Digital Trade Centre. Our global partnerships across industry and digital technology enable us to bring fresh perspectives and enquiring minds to the challenges and opportunities involved in Digital Trade.

Teesside University is an ambitious and enterprising university for a focused and pragmatic global new generation. With an outstanding reputation for working closely with industry and high-quality, applied research, it makes a real difference to the lives of people and the success of businesses and the economy. As an anchor institution and economic engine, Teesside University works in partnership with local organisations and businesses, acting as a driving force for prosperity in the Tees Valley and beyond. Its collaborative and interdisciplinary research aims to address some of the biggest challenges facing society today, supporting regional growth and in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Digital trade encompasses many of these challenges and we are proud to be founding partners of the Digital Trade Centre.


Institute of Export & International Trade (IoE&T) will support C4DTI as the ICC licenced training provider for the WTO/ICC Standards Toolkit.

The Institute was established over 85 years ago to support UK businesses in growing their international markets and trade. The Institute is the leading association of exporters and importers. We provide education and training to professionalise the UK’s international traders. As a partner with UK government, we deliver national and international programmes, acting as evangelists for the UK and establishing UK processes and standards globally. The Institute co-partners in running the online Customs Academy, the world’s first training platform dedicated to customs skills and developed at the request of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).


Deloitte will support the design, setup and development of the Centre, including the operating model, governance, and approach to innovation and pilot delivery. Deloitte will also support the centre and its stakeholders in the delivery of pilots to test new technologies and processes that enable the digitisation of trade.

Deloitte is the largest professional services firm in the world, with 2000+ global experts in supply chain, trade and customs. In the UK we have worked with Government to secure critical supply chains and our dedicated Borders and Trade practice works across Government and the private sector to deliver solutions that support the realisation of the UK Border Strategy, simplifying processes for traders and travellers, whilst improving security of the UK.

Our digital, innovation strategy, fintech and blockchain teams bring expertise in the technologies and tools that will underpin the future of the border, whilst our global team brings knowledge and lessons from the approaches being taken across the world, helping to bring genuine innovation and leading thinking to the C4DTI.


Plexal will be an Ecosystem Partner supporting the setup of the C4DTI and provide practical support in the form of innovation and programme management expertise. 

Plexal is the innovation company that supercharges collaboration. It combines open, collaborative innovation with a community of fast-growth startups to help enterprises and the government unlock the potential of technology. Plexal works with some of the most influential government departments and global tech companies to deliver innovation projects. These include the cross-border Rapid Innovation Accelerator, which connected entrepreneurs in the UK and Oman, and London RoadLab, which helped Transport for London fast-track innovation. 

Plexal’s cyber innovation team is also building the UK’s most connected cybersecurity ecosystem. Plexal delivers the LORCA accelerator, is the National Cyber Security Centre’s partner for NCSC For Startups and is supporting 107 innovators through the Cyber Runway accelerator. Over the last three years, Plexal has helped cyber startups raise over £200m and earn over £37m in revenue through LORCA alone. Its workspace in London is home to over 800 innovators who are breaking new ground in cybersecurity, mobility, inclusive design, healthtech, AI and more. Members get access to community events, connections and 1:1 support designed to help them scale and Plexal regularly partners with members to pilot their solutions, bid for business together and enable them to build solutions with large organisations. The community includes Fiit, the online fitness startup, Quantum technology company M Squared and youth-led charity My Life My Say. 


The following government departments are supporting the initiative: 



Cybersecurity incidents continue to grow in frequency and severity and virtually all companies see it as a major and growing concern. The scale is stark: the costs of cybercrime alone are estimated at EUR5.5 trillion in 2020, nearly double the 2015 figure.

Since the private sector owns and operates most of the infrastructure and services of the online environment, we’re the first line of defence – and we’re often the first ones blamed when incidents happen.

We can’t solve or prevent cyber-issues alone: that requires public-private cooperation at all levels. Right now, it is too easy for bad actors to launch transboundary attacks with impunity.

Global Commitments – and even more important, the political will to act on them – are the only truly effective response.

Call to action

Without robust cooperation at the United Nations, bad actors will continue to arbitrage different legal approaches and levels of national cyber development for illicit purposes. Different regional and national approaches aren’t enough. Industry can’t afford the status quo to continue.

This initiative works alongside the ICC Cybersecurity Working Group (providing global industry positions), and Chief Security Officer Forum (providing strategic advice), delivering an experienced expert who works directly with UN negotiators in New York and capitals.

This gives participating firms a unique ability to influence the United Nations and its member governments, ensuring the voice of business is heard and seen as a source of solutions, and so that agreements made at that level better reflect industry needs.


The UN will begin the next five years’ work programme on global cybersecurity this December and separate negotiations are beginning on a global treaty on cybercrime in January 2022.

Industry needs the multilateral agenda to act to reduce cyber-insecurity and that will only happen if we are at the table, working with negotiators, day in and day out. That’s exactly where ICC United Kingdom is positioned. We need your help to keep us there and to increase our impact.


ICC United Kingdom is the voice for UK business at intergovernmental level, working with the ICC network, global industry bodies and governments. ICC is the only business organisation with UN Observer Status at the General Assembly and acts as a leading business voice for change in the only global forum where governments decide how the rules of the international legal order apply online.

ICC United Kingdom has a unique value proposition to add to that: we have a dedicated expert with more than two decades of multilateral experience working directly with delegations in New York and in national capitals to influence the negotiations taking place under the General Assembly. Our expert participates directly in the formal negotiations in New York on the ICC global delegation to the Open-Ended Working Group addressing cybersecurity issues, and the new process starting in January intended to create a new global treaty on cybercrime.

This initiative is also integrally involved in ICC’s global policy work through the ICC Cybersecurity Working Group and the new UK/US led Chief Security Officer Forum to ensure messaging and advocacy that reflects industry’s needs and priorities for action at the practical level. The level of engagement of ICC United Kingdom on this subject in New York is unique amongst trade associations worldwide.


Our goal is simple in concept but complex in execution: ensure global agreements reflect industry priorities for fewer, shorter, less severe cyber incidents and greater accountability and sanctions for those that engage in them. 

To deliver this, we advocate for practical outcomes such as:

  • More governments agreeing to take action to counter harmful transboundary attacks launched from their territory – even if those responsible are not acting on behalf of the government (like most ransomware attacks);
  • Greater protection of “critical infrastructure” – areas like cloud services – so states will not attack these in other countries and will work to prevent attacks from others using their territory;
  • Greater transparency on what rules governments agree to apply – and how the private sector can work with national governments on the ground to prevent, reduce, and increase responsibility, for attacks.
  • New forms of practical engagement at the firm level in country to proactively address the threat landscape – and to help firms influence the policies that can best help them.

Last, but not least, participating companies can say they are influencing the international action on an critical issue to drive real progress.


This initiative provides a service beyond what is on offer to ICC members or members of the CSO Forum and is funded through separate membership fees. 


  • Dedicated access to ICC expertise working directly with key decision-makers in capitals and in New York diplomatic missions;
  • Priority opportunities to participate and speak at events that directly reach key officials globally;
  • Collaborating with thought-leading member-firms’ experts and executives who share your concerns that has a direct impact on advocacy;
  • Access to monthly inside information on cyber policy in governments worldwide that your colleagues can use in advocacy and practical cyber risk reduction.


For further information on the programme contact: 

Nick Ashton-Hart 

Cybersecurity incidents affect millions of people and cause trillions of dollars of damage to businesses, governments and critical infrastructure every day, with incidents growing in frequency and severity. Given the increasing focus on security by governments and the need for consolidated private sector positions to tackle cyber threats, the CSO Forum is a platform for open and candid dialogue among chief security officers to share best practices and discuss practical solutions to transboundary cybersecurity issues. 

The Forum will provide a unique opportunity to engage with fellow experts and industry colleagues at the highest levels and provide evidence-based input for the ICC Working Group on Cybersecurity established under the umbrella of the ICC Commission on the Digital Economy. Discussions will centre on practical issues such as how critical infrastructure can be protected from malicious cyber activity or how agreed international norms, rules and principles of responsible state behaviour can be implemented by national governments, especially where common approaches will produce a real improvement in security. 

Topics approached by the Forum will also be drawn from the work of the UN General Assembly’s processes related to cyber issues, as the main global venue where such challenges and their potential solutions are discussed collectively across all governments. The Forum is particularly focused on collecting industry approaches, solutions and needs for practical steps that can be taken collectively to: 

1. Help prevent cyber incidents.

2. Increase effective coordinated responses to cyber incidents.

3. Identify what law enforcement measures taken collectively would or deter malicious actors from causing cyber incidents.

The forum will be facilitated by ICC United Kingdom. Its discussions will inform issue briefs, position papers and the wider work of the ICC Cybersecurity Working Group.

Key Benefits 

  • An opportunity to engage in a global peer to peer forum on cybersecurity priorities.
  • A chance to shape the ICC global cybersecurity agenda.
  • Gather insights and best practice to influence global debate.

Contact and Support

For further information or support, please contact Nick Ashton-Hart, CSO Forum Coordinator,

Even the smallest businesses produce carbon emissions – it could be through your building, your vehicles or your supply chain. 

Which is why the government has launched the new online UK Business Climate Hub, to help  business play a part in the fight against climate change and gain a competitive edge in the process.

As part of the government’s ten-point plan to Build Back Greener following the pandemic, UK businesses are being asked to make a climate commitment to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030, and to reach net zero by 2050. Net zero means you are putting no more carbon into the atmosphere than you are taking out of it.

Once you make the commitment to reaching net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner, you’ll be provided with tools to help you understand your emissions, how to reduce them, and how to share what you’re doing with your customers and your community.

There’s even branded material to help you showcase what you’ve done, as well as regular support and incentives to help you stick to your commitment.

So what is the UK Business Climate Hub?

It is a one-stop-shop where you can make a climate commitment, become part of the United Nations Race to Zero initiative, and access best-in-class tools and resources for your company.

Part of the UN’s SME Climate Hub, the new UK hub brings a much-needed national focus to an important international campaign. 

Recognising the need to support businesses as they start their net zero journeys, the UK Business Climate Hub is designed to offer practical advice that is accessible to all, kickstarting your push towards net zero.

The resources will help you to develop a climate strategy, measure and reduce your business’s emissions, and help with making choices which also help to reduce the emissions of your supply chain. 

You’ll also find inspiring stories from other businesses like yours, that have already benefited from introducing sustainable measures.

Here’s how it can work for you:

Grow your business and your brand

The hub represents a national network of like-minded businesses seeking to improve themselves, their community and the planet. Being part of this network offers far reaching collaborative and commercial opportunities to grow your business and become a leading brand, as market trends shift to a low-carbon economy.

Help your business gain a competitive edge over others in your field

Supply chain leaders, investors, shareholders, consumers and employees are increasingly looking to business to adopt ambitious climate-related targets, with some supply chain leaders now making climate action an official part of their procurement policies. Making a commitment to net zero, and sharing this pledge with your customers and stakeholders can increase your competitive edge.

Get better access to capital and affordable insurance

Investors and insurers are increasingly linking business exposure from natural disasters, such as flooding, with climate change. Take steps to keep your insurance fees affordable and secure your loan, grant and investment worthiness.

Improve your business’s efficiency and reduce costs

Reducing emissions means businesses that look to use and manage resources more efficiently can also reduce their operating costs and improve preparedness for a greener, more prosperous future. 

To get started on the road to a greener future today, visit the UK Business Climate Hub and make a commitment.

Find out more by visiting

Why SMEs?

Here we look at why the SME Climate Hub is focussed on SMEs

Building climate resilience is critical for SMEs to remain viable but they often lack resources, know-how and incentives to become resilient.

1 Limited Resources

Small businesses often have many competing interests and limited time, money and staff to dedicate to addressing climate resilience.

2 Lack of Know-how

Even if a small business is committed to building resilience, it is often difficult to know where to start or where to find practical and credible tools – in one place – to support them.

3 Misaligned Incentives

Small businesses want to survive and thrive, but the commercial value of building resilience is not always evident.

Steps you can take to cut your emissions

Going greener might look different for every business, but there are steps you can take whether you’re just starting out or further along the road to zero emissions. Here are some ideas to get you started…

Introduce a cycle to work scheme

Reducing your impact on the environment could be as simple as allowing your employees to make changes to how they work and travel.

Support your employees to cycle to work through a salary sacrifice scheme. This is better for your employees’ health and well-being and better for the planet. The Cycle to Work Scheme is a tax-efficient, salary-sacrifice employee benefit. You can also save on reduced National Insurance Contributions on the cost of cycle hire.

Insulate your buildings

Non-domestic buildings are responsible for 9% of UK greenhouse gas emissions every year.

Properly insulating your windows, walls, doors, roof, chimneys and pipes will reduce your energy use, cutting emissions and saving you money on bills.

(source: Final UK greenhouse gas emissions national statistics: 1990 to 2018) 

Minimise the waste from your products and packaging

Waste isn’t only bad for your bottom line, it’s bad for the environment. Most production processes contribute to carbon emissions, and if products cannot be reused or recycled, then incinerating or landfilling discarded plastics and other rubbish releases more carbon and potentially other harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.

WRAP have resources and tips that can help you tackle this waste, including:

  • Reducing the amount of packaging you use
  • Using recyclable materials
  • Minimising the use of unnecessary single-use plastics
  • Reducing the environmental impact of textiles and clothing by designing for durability, with greater use of more sustainable fibres and recycled materials
  • Smarter storage for perishable goods to avoid food waste
  • Clear labelling on appropriate disposal methods, so your customer can do their bit too

Adjust heating and cooling system timings, temperatures and rooms

You could significantly lower your energy consumption and emissions by turning your heating down by just one degree.

Other changes you can make right now include:

  • Setting your thermostat correctly
  • Making sure systems are turned off when the building is unoccupied
  • Turning air conditioning off if you have a window or door open
  • Keeping radiators free from obstructions

Switch to LED bulbs

Upgrading from conventional lighting to LED bulbs could deliver cost savings of up to 80% for your business.

LED bulbs use less energy, last much longer and reduce maintenance costs compared to regular bulbs, meaning you’ll make back the cost and more. You can save more money by installing lighting controls that automatically switch off or dim lighting.

The Energy Technology List is an easy-to-use source of information on energy efficient products for buildings and provides a list of verified efficient products, including lighting. 

Install a smart meter

Smart meters enable you to take control of your business’ energy use and costs – and put an end to estimated billing and manual meter reads.

Speak to your energy supplier directly to find out about having a smart meter installed at no additional cost and check Smart Energy GB for more information.

Talk to your supply chain

We will only make progress towards net zero emissions if everyone gets involved.

Ask the businesses in your supply chain how they are reducing their emissions. This could prompt them to take action and may give you new ideas. Try having a conversation about reducing environmental impact with each of your suppliers at least once in the next three months.

How about factoring in environmental impact next time you are looking for a new supplier?

Electrify your vehicle fleet

Electric vehicles can save you money and offer a superior driving experience, as well as reducing your environmental impact.

Go Ultra Low have a selection of tools that can help you work out:

  • What government incentives are available for your business
  • Potential savings on fuel, tax and road charges
  • Which vehicle is right for your business, how far it can travel and the location of your nearest charging points

Install your own renewable electricity or heating

Switch from a gas boiler to a low carbon alternative, like a heat pump or solar thermal, and you will immediately reduce your impact on the environment.

Or generate your own renewable energy, for example by installing solar panels, and you could even make money by selling excess electricity you produce back to the grid.

These projects have higher upfront costs and you may need planning permission before starting work, so will work best if you are planning on remaining in your current premises for the next few years allowing you to recoup the costs.

For information on all these actions visit the UK Business Climate Hub at  ¬

What’s in it for my business?

Here we look at some of the benefits for SMEs

Gain a competitive advantage

Supply chain leaders, investors, shareholders, consumers and employees are increasingly looking to business to adopt ambitious climate-related targets, with some supply chain leaders now formulising climate action in their procurement policies. Stay ahead of the curve.

Manage business risk

Left unchecked, climate change represents material risk to business cash flow and economic growth, by increasing operating costs, limiting resource availability, causing shifts in demand, disrupting supply chains and forcing business closures. Prepare for tomorrow, today.

Improve effeciency, reduce costs

Businesses that look to use and manage resources more efficiently can tangibly reduce their operating costs and increase profitability, while improving business preparedness. Begin to take steps today that are good for your business and the climate.

Enhance access to capital and affordable insurance

Investors and insurers are increasingly linking business exposure from natural disasters with climate change. Take steps to keep your insurance fees affordable and secure your loan, grant and investment worthiness.

Grow your business and your brand

The SME Climate Hub represents a global network of like-minded businesses seeking to improve themselves, their community and the planet. Being part of this network offers far reaching collaborative and commercial opportunities to grow your business and be a leading brand, as market trends shift to a low-carbon economy.


ICC has joined a global coalition of industry associations in urging members of the World Trade Organization to keep the Internet free of tariffs ahead of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12).

Supported by 73 industry associations active across six continents, the Global Industry Statement on the WTO Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions urges WTO Members to renew the Moratorium until the 13th Ministerial Conference.

The statement reads:

 “Allowing the Moratorium to expire would be a historic setback for the WTO, representing an unprecedented termination of a multilateral agreement in place nearly since the WTO’s inception – an agreement that has allowed the digital economy to take root and grow. All WTO members have a stake in the organisation’s continued institutional credibility and resilience, as well as its relevance at a time of unprecedented digital transformation.”

ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said:

 “Failure to renew the moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions would be a grave error on the part of WTO Members. At this critical juncture in our recovery from COVID-19, the Internet must remain free of tariff adventurism.”

The statement also notes the benefits of the Moratorium to the COVID-19 recovery, supply chain resilience and to MSMEs:

 “Continuation of the Moratorium is critical to the COVID-19 recovery. As detailed by the United Nations, the World Bank, the OECD, and many other organizations, the cross-border exchange of knowledge, technical know-how, and scientific and commercial information across transnational IT networks, as well as access to digital tools and global market opportunities have helped sustain economies, expand education, and raise global living standards.

 Continuation of the Moratorium is also important to supply chain resilience for manufacturing and services industries in the COVID-19 era. Manufacturers – both large and small, and across a range of industrial sectors – rely on the constant flow of research, design, and process data and software to enable their production flows and supply chains for critical products.

The Moratorium is particularly beneficial to Micro-, Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs), whose ability to access and leverage digital tools has allowed them to stay in business amidst physical restrictions and lockdowns.”

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Business and regulators gather at global competition forum to prepare for new era in antitrust law enforcement

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) hosted a global competition forum on the side-lines of the 21st International Competition Network (ICN) Annual Conference to help global business and antitrust enforcers gain a deeper understanding of the new trends and related challenges in antitrust law enforcement that have emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 The ICC Pre-ICN Forum, organised in partnership with the International Bar Association, was conceived over a decade ago to facilitate an open dialogue between key actors in antitrust enforcement – using ICC’s flagship antitrust initiatives to draw attention to critical issues with the view to ignite potential new antitrust reforms. With the introduction of ICC Compendium of Antitrust Damages Actions during last year’s Forum, ICC shone a spotlight on the increasingly fragmented nature of national private antitrust enforcement regimes which continues to create vast new pressures on companies.

 The heightened risks faced by companies of being sued for damages brought against them has had an important impact on a company’s decision to report a cartel – making leniency applications less attractive. In this worrying context, ICC was proud to release at the Forum the 3rd Edition of the ICC Leniency Manual providing companies with a step-by-step approach to understanding leniency applications worldwide – and, crucially, the confidence to take action in fighting cartels.

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ICC welcomes new principles for the future of Internet and calls for global cooperation

Following the launch of the Declaration for the Future of the Internet at the White House today, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has issued the following statement welcoming the new principles and calling for effective global multilateral cooperation.

 “An open, stable and trusted Internet that is global and interoperable is vital for business operations worldwide and a prerequisite to the effective functioning of public services such as education and health care as well as to the way citizens interact with their government.

 “ICC and its network of 45 million business worldwide share a core belief that ICTs and digital technologies, when used responsibly and equitably, can create opportunities for everyone, transforming lives and communities as a formidable engine of innovation, competitiveness and sustainable economic growth. This unique potential can only be fully harnessed if the fundamental nature of the Internet as an open, interconnected and interoperable network of networks is preserved and if the rights, freedoms, trust and safety of all peoples on the Internet are maintained.

 “The principles set out in the Declaration for the Future of the Internet are the right steps in this direction. They promote (i) a stable legal and regulatory environment for human-centric connectivity, (ii) open markets and trusted free flows of data that enable innovation and growth, (iii) a holistic approach to policymaking and (iv) multistakeholder Internet governance – the four building blocks ICC identifies as crucial for sustainable digitalisation.

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We must applaud the UK-Singapore governments on the quality and depth of this agreement and the ambition behind it which is effectively limitless. The commitment and energy in this bilateral relationship is really impressive. The DEA has changed the game on future trade by setting a new precedent on the type of framework we need to drive modern trade. In short, it is everything we have been asking for.

The agreement covers a host of important areas – open and inclusive digital markets, data flows, consumer and business safeguards, digital trading systems, financial services, tech partnerships and information sharing. It’s also supported by deeper cooperation agreements on the UK-Singapore Fintech Bridge, digital customs, cybersecurity, digital identities, electronic trade documents and electronic invoicing.

Digital trade isn’t just about paperless customs processes, ecommerce platforms or the tech sector. It’s also about transforming and modernising the environment in which we trade so companies of all sectors and sizes benefit from a cheaper, faster and simpler trading system. This is vital for SMEs and supply chains where the pain of inefficiency and paper heavy processes is felt the most. It’s also about improving access to the working capital SMEs need to drive trade. 50% of the $1.7 trillion trade finance gap can be solved by simply digitalising commercial trade documents – bills of exchange, bills of lading, warehouse receipts and the like.

Remember the days when Microsoft and Apple were completely separate systems? Today’s trade system still operates like this. In comparison to our consumer lives where we can connect to almost everything through mobile apps and documents and information flow across whichever system we use, trade is at least 20-30 years behind and still operates on laws dating back to the 1800’s.

We have the technologies but we don’t yet have the environment in which they can operate at scale and connect up the myriad of fragmented systems between governments, shippers, financiers, insurers, traders, ports and everyone else in between. Technology platforms can’t connect to each other, information can’t flow because it’s in different formats and reams of paper documents are being shuffled from one party to the next to be checked and re-checked. All of this makes trade expensive, slow and unnecessarily complex.

A trade transaction can take 2-3 months to complete, cost up to £80,000 in time and cost and involve up to 27 different documents, 35 government agencies across 30 plus parties. Worldwide, there are 4 billion paper documents floating through the system at any given time. There are 40 different standards for e-invoices alone.

The whole system needs modernising and bringing into the 21st century. It is ripe for innovation and transformation and all the economic benefits this brings. The UK-Singapore DEA provides the conditions in which we can sweep all of this complexity away and dramatically cut the cost of trade – by 80% for a trade transaction. We can cut the processing time on cross border compliance from 25 days to 1 day and free up more working capital to finance SME trade. The opportunity is dramatic.

As big as these benefits are, the DEA is more than this. Crucially, it is a flexible framework that creates the space for dynamic dialogue so government and industry can evolve in real time to technological change. This is significantly different from the more traditional free trade agreement format. The latter suffers from being slow to negotiate and too rigid and static once negotiated which is one reason we still operate on WTO ecommerce rules dating back to the 1990s. A dynamic format addresses this issue which is vital in a world where technology is advancing far quicker than governments and regulators. It is fluid and able to respond in real time to keep up with the pace of technology.

This way of working isn’t without precedent. The financial centres of New York and London don’t operate under a static free trade agreement framework. Financial institutions, authorities and regulators have a constant dialogue that changes and adapts to the environment around them which is one of the reasons why we see so much financial services innovation from these two cities and responsiveness when that environment changes. The DEA is similar to this except it covers the whole spectrum of the trade environment. In my view, this is the future format for modern digital trade agreements.

The timing of the DEA is also interesting. We have seen a lot of activity and progress in digital trade across Asia but this is the first time we are seeing two G20 trade, finance, legal and technology hubs connect across East and West hemispheres. It’s also the first time we are seeing two governments setting out a scalable model for digital trade – technology agnostic, standards-led, open systems as opposed to having to choose specific technologies and use closed platforms. In other words, the focus is on enabling the market to grow and deliver technology solutions which is a model for digital trade that is more likely to be accepted across the western economies and beyond. The DEA, in effect, is providing a bridge that will connect modern trading systems east and west which is one of it’s most exciting aspects.

It’s also interesting that aside of the bilateral relationship, both governments are looking at the bigger picture and how to help improve the trading environment for all countries. For instance, partnering up to remove legal barriers to digitalisation at the World Trade Organization. If they are successful there, we will unlock digital trade across 80+ countries aligning legal systems. Inclusivity must be a top priority if we want to avoid a twin track world where some countries benefit but others do not. We also have The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting this year where there is another opportunity to do the same with 54 nations who already share the same underpinning legal system. The Commonwealth has the potential to modernise legal systems faster than any other network.

Wide-ranging benefits for businesses include: 

  • Services exporters will greatly benefit from this agreement’s provisions but goods exporters will also benefit, especially with the replacement of time-consuming and costly paperwork with e-signatures, e-contracts and electronic invoicing with greater confidence. 
  • Future growth sectors like fintech and lawtech can benefit from deep cooperation with another advanced economy – helping cement the UK’s position as a world leader in tech and a global services, digital and data hub.  
  • This agreement will also prevent unjustified data localisation requirements which can add significant costs to UK businesses, effectively shutting smaller traders out of new markets. 
  • The deal will ensure stronger cyber security and closer links between the two high-tech and services hubs.

Consumer benefits 

The DEA will promote personal data protection and require both countries to have data-protection frameworks in place.

It will promote the flow of data across borders while maintaining our world-leading standards for personal data protection enshrined within the Data Protection Act 2018.

The UK and Singapore will commit to protecting the rights of consumers online. This includes through laws and regulations to ban misleading, deceptive, fraudulent and unfair commercial practices that may harm consumers.

And the two nations will make it easier for consumers to opt out of unsolicited “spam” emails, wherever in the world they come from. Both recognise the importance of a safe and secure online environment and will advance collaborative solutions to the global issues that affect it.

Keeping the UK at the forefront of the tech revolution

The DEA will be a model for global digital-trade rules, allow our businesses and people to harness new opportunities in the digital economy and support a digital environment that safeguards consumers and businesses. It will keep the UK at the forefront of the technological revolution, as future growth sectors like fintech and lawtech can benefit from deeper cooperation with another advanced economy.

Sell to the world with DIT’s help

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Enabling data to flow freely 

This deal maintains the UK’s high standards on data protection while making sure data can flow freely between the two countries. It will ensure that businesses do not face unjustified barriers to data flows, such as the requirement to store their data in costly servers in New Zealand.

Supporting online trade

The deal recognises the central importance of digital trade to growth across all sectors of the economy. It supports and protects online shoppers, and it will also help UK businesses to trade with New Zealand in modern services such as finance, creative industries, architecture, law and professional services. The FTA also includes commitments to minimise spam and false descriptions of products in online marketplaces. 

Greater opportunity to do business 

The deal will cut red tape for the UK’s advanced tech and services companies and make it easier for smaller businesses to break into the New Zealand market. It does this by ensuring the legal validity of electronic contracts, electronic signatures and electronic authentication. It also provides a foundation for cooperation on electronic invoicing and digital identities.

Innovation and emerging technologies will be supported through cooperation between the UK and New Zealand. Businesses can have confidence that both countries are working together to ensure that unjustifiable barriers to digital trade are reduced.

Global leadership on climate and environment 

This deal includes a ground-breaking environment chapter that reaffirms the UK’s commitments to the Paris Agreement, including the temperature goals. 

The environment chapter includes ambitious commitments which go beyond precedent to support our climate change goals, including to end electricity generation from unabated coal, take steps to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies where they exist, and pursue an ambitious phase down of hydrofluorocarbons.  

 The deal also includes the most comprehensive list of environmental goods to date, with liberalised tariffs on entry into force, supporting both countries’ climate and environmental goals through trade policy. This could encourage trade and investment in low-carbon goods, services and technology, alongside other commitments in the chapter to strengthen cooperation in areas such as sustainable forest management, sustainable agriculture and marine litter.