The Latest Research shows who isn’t doing their bit


According to research from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, SMEs are quite comfortable undertaking traditional activities such as energy saving and recycling, however a significant number have still yet to adopt a much wider range of sustainable business practices.

The study found that SMEs are less likely to provide a clearly deifined business code of conduct (46%), work responsibly within a supply chain (42%) or operate an ethical sourcing policy (25%). It also highlighted that there are still businesses who do not believe there are any benefits to be gained from implementing such practices.

However of those businesses that have implemented sustainable business practices, most believe there are clear benefits in doing do. More than half (54%) believe it helps reduce their costs, just under a third (3%) believe it increases their profitability; while more than two-fifths (42%) state that it makes a positive contribution to the environment.

Of those businesses that still have no sustainable business practices, more than (44%) say they will start investing over the next five years. The key motivations of these future investors are to reduce costs and increase profitability (52%) and make a positive contribution to the community (28%).

Interestingly, there was a clear difference in terms of levels of engagement across different sectors. All healthcare companies stated that they engaged in some sort of sustainable practice compared to just nine out of ten in the leisure (90%) and professional services (91%) sector and just under nine out of ten (88%) in financial services.

Looking ahead, a third of SMEs expect to increase their investment in sustainable business practices over the next five years, while two-fifths (42%) expect their investment to remain flat. Only a small minority (2%) think they will cut back on spending in this area.

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