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Majority of SMEs are becoming more environmentally sustainable but need the government to step up and help, a survey reveals

Written by Latifa Yedroudj on Monday, 24 February 2020. Posted in Politics, Analysis

More than half of UK SMEs believe the government is not doing enough to encourage and bring incentives to businesses who implement sustainable policies

Majority of SMEs are becoming more environmentally sustainable but need the government to step up and help, a survey reveals

More than half of UK SMEs believe the government is not doing enough to encourage and bring incentives to businesses who implement sustainable policies

Businesses need to commit to ethically and environmentally-friendly practises to decrease waste and reduce their carbon footprint. Over half of SMEs in UK are taking the issue of sustainability more seriously, new research shows. However, majority believe the government is not doing enough to encourage businesses to adopt greener policies, according to CitySprint’s full Collaborate UK report.

Collaborate UK is CitySprint’s annual survey of over 1000 SME business owners and explores the increasing importance of sustainable business practises for SMEs, the tangible impacts of Brexit on businesses and the role logistics play in their business model.

According to the report, 57% of UK SMEs said they would like more information from the government on what they can do to adopt greener policies. In addition, 49% of SMEs are looking for more investment in infrastructure such as charging points and 48% are interested in receiving additional advice on the legislation changes in regards to the sustainability requirements for businesses. However, many believe the government is falling short on their environmental pledges. 62% of SMEs believe the government is not doing enough to encourage and incentivise businesses for sustainable practises, the survey showed.

SMEs are also welcoming increasing environmental regulation - and majority said they have seen positive impacts on their business. 43% of London SMEs believe the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) introduced in April 2019 has improved the sustainability of their operations, while only 16% said it has had a negative impact. The ULEZ is a fee charged to the most polluting vehicles in central London, which has so far led to a 20% reduction in emissions across the capital since its launch last year.

Even SMEs outside London are open to environmentally sustainable initiatives. 69% of small and medium businesses believe “Clean Air Zones” due to be rolled out in cities across the UK will either have an unnoticeable or positive impact on their operations.

“As a leader in the final-mile delivery space we have long understood our responsibility to reduce the impact of our operations on the planet, so it’s encouraging to see the increasing importance of sustainability to the UK’s SME businesses, with concrete plans being made to incorporate more sustainable operations into their growth,” Rosie Bailey, Director of Business Development at CitySprint, said. “Despite positive steps, our annual survey continues to find that government support in this area is lacking. We’d encourage SME owners to look closely at their supply chain to see where they can make easy wins with their sustainability offer, and consider forming partnerships with other businesses, that have areas of shared interest to share best practice and work towards a common goal.”

Many organisations and companies across the UK demonstrate sustainability policies in their business operations to adhere to current environmental legislation, but to also create a better reputation with environmentally conscious customers and improve their standing with stakeholders in the business. The government must encourage businesses to implement green initiatives through more campaigns and added incentives in order to encourage sustainable practises.

About the Author

Latifa Yedroudj

Latifa Yedroudj

Latifa Yedroudj has joined the Elite team to fully immerse herself in the business side of journalism, a strong passion of hers cultivated from young having co-run her mother's start up business since she was 18. Her interests lie in a wide range of subjects, including start ups, business, travel, and anything entrepreneurial she can get her hands on. She has worked for some of the biggest names in journalism including The Guardian and The Mirror. Follow her on @latifayed on Twitter for her latest journo rants.

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