Investigating the Impact of Net-Zero Strategy on Firms' Energy Efficiency Performance and Economic Growth within the Framework of Sustainable Development Goals

This funding model includes a 36 month fully funded PhD Studentship, in-line with the Research Council values, which comprises a tax-free stipend paid monthly (2024/5 - £19,237) per year and a Full Time Fee Scholarship for up to 3 years, subject to you making satisfactory progression within your PhD. 

All applicants will receive the same stipend irrespective of fee status.

Application Closing Date: 
23:59 on Tuesday 30th April 2024 for a start date of the 2nd September 2024.

How to Apply 

To apply, please complete the project proposal form,ensuring that you quote the project reference, and then complete the online application where you will be required to upload your proposal in place of a personal statement as a pdf document. 

You will also be required to upload two references, at least one being an academic reference, and your qualification/s of entry (Bachelor/Masters certificate/s and transcript/s). 

Project Title: Investigating the Impact of Net-Zero Strategy on Firms' Energy  Efficiency Performance and Economic Growth within the Framework  of Sustainable Development Goals

Project Lead: Dr Jahira Debbarma

Reference: NetZeroEEG

Project Description

The proposed PGR project aims to examine how the Net-Zero strategy impacts the energy efficiency performance of firms in the UK and its broader implications for economic growth within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As the primary framework for global climate ambition, the Net-Zero strategy has garnered widespread support from countries, cities, businesses, and institutions striving to combat climate change sustainably. 

In 2021, the UK Government introduced its Net-Zero strategy, setting a goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Businesses, including both large enterprises and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), play a crucial role in achieving this ambitious target.

Despite commitments to net-zero targets, many businesses, especially SMEs, struggle to understand and reduce their carbon footprints due to limited resources and information. This research project aims to fill the gap in existing literature by analyzing how the Net-Zero strategy affects the energy efficiency performance of SMEs and large firms, both before and after the policy announcement. By comparing energy efficiency levels and examining changes over time, the research seeks to address key questions about the sustainability and adaptability of businesses to the Net-Zero strategy.

The project's theoretical contributions lie in exploring the relationship between the Net-Zero strategy and firms' energy efficiency performance, with a focus on SMEs and large firms in the UK context. 

Furthermore, the research provides practical insights into whether businesses are making progress toward achieving Net-Zero emissions by 2050. Ultimately, the findings aim to inform policy decisions aimed at optimizing economic growth while promoting energy efficiency within the framework of the SDGs.

Anticipated Findings and Contribution to Knowledge 

The project represents a timely and methodologically rigorous investigation into a critical aspect of climate change mitigation and sustainable development. Its findings hold significant potential for scholarly contributions, practical implications for businesses, and policy guidance for fostering economic growth while addressing climate challenges. 

Anticipated findings:

  • Energy efficiency performance: The research is expected to reveal trends in energy efficiency 
  • performance among UK businesses, both SMEs and large firms, pre- and post-implementation of the NetZero strategy. 
  • Sectoral heterogeneity: It will uncover variations in energy efficiency performance across different business sectors. The research is likely to identify key barriers hindering businesses, especially SMEs, from effectively addressing their carbon footprints.
  • Economic implications: It will explore the economic implications of pursuing energy efficiency improvements within the context of the Net-Zero strategy.
  • Policy effectiveness: The research will evaluate the effectiveness of the Net-Zero strategy in 
  • Driving tangible improvements in firms' energy efficiency performance. 

Contribution to Knowledge:

  • Understanding the impact of Net-Zero strategy: The project aims to contribute to the understanding of how the Net-Zero strategy influences firms' energy efficiency performance.
  • Sectoral insights: Through comprehensive data collection and analysis, the project aims to offer sector-specific insights into energy efficiency trends, barriers, and enablers.
  • Practical guidance for businesses: The project's findings are expected to provide practical guidance for businesses, especially SMEs, seeking to enhance their energy efficiency performance and align with Net-Zero objectives.
  • Policy implications: The research outcomes have significant implications for policy formulation and decision-making. 
  • Methodological rigor and innovation: The project's methodological approach, which integrates quantitative analysis, qualitative research, and data-driven techniques, contributes to methodological innovation in the field of sustainability studies.