Firms vow to go green this year as pressure grows to embrace sustainable business

January 3, 2020

Two thirds of small and medium-sized firms in the South West took steps to make their businesses greener last year with roughly the same percentage saying they want to improve their environmental sustainability in 2020.

Some 43% believe becoming more environmentally sustainable is important to them while just over a fifth (22%) claim doing so is very important. 

The commitment to a greener future emerges from the latest Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking’s Business Barometer, which is based on national research carried out monthly for a bank. Just over 100 South West companies took part in the latest survey between November 1 and 18.

While the commitment from South West businesses to make themselves more sustainable is good for the environment, 31% confessed that they were primarily driven by the potential to make long-term cost savings.

And as public awareness of the need to move to a low carbon economy rises – along with the government target of bringing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 – some 17% of firms said they were motivated mainly by pressure from customers.

More than a third said they planned to use cash reserves to become more sustainable against 14% that said they would rely on government grants.

Efforts of those already making changes include 33% that have made alterations to their premises in order to make them more energy efficient in the past year and 26% which have used suppliers that source environmentally friendly products and services.

One in 10 said they had not made their businesses more environmentally sustainable in the past year due to the cost implications.

Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking South West regional director David Beaumont said: “With environmental sustainability high on the agenda for firms of every size – whether that means they’re doing what they can to reduce energy consumption or cut waste – South West businesses understand there is often a financial benefit to making their operations greener.

“As ever, before making significant investments, businesses should consider all the available funding options to decide which is most appropriate for them.

“When it comes to going green there are options such as government grants and asset finance solutions that help spread the cost of an investment over its lifetime, and initiatives like our Clean Growth Finance Initiative, which offers discounted lending for green purposes.

“Regardless of motivation, we can be confident the impetus to introduce green measures isn’t going anywhere. Becoming more sustainable is a gradual process the UK business community must navigate together.”




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