A study of 500 UK SME owners found despite 91 per cent believing it’s important to be sustainable, many struggle due to a lack of guidance (42 per cent), efficient carbon footprint data (37 per cent) and time (37 per cent).
Furthermore, 83 per cent think the government needs to do more to educate and support businesses in their sustainability efforts.
Despite this, 67 per cent currently have a strategy in place for their enterprise, although 56 per cent are reluctant to introduce a policy because they feel it’s too late to reverse climate change. And a confident 84 per cent feel their company is as environmentally friendly as it claims to be.
Some of the top ways businesses are trying to be more sustainable include recycling waste (36 per cent), using energy-efficient appliances (26 per cent) and environmentally friendly cleaning products (26 per cent).
The research, commissioned by UK climate action brand Ecologi, found many are also going paperless (27 per cent) and investing in smart plugs (20 per cent).
But three quarters feel overwhelmed about how their organisation can tackle climate change and seven in 10 don’t fully understand the terminology used such as ‘net-zero’.
The study also found a third are planning to make changes to improve the sustainability of their business as soon as within the next six months.
Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of owners believe such initiatives are worthwhile and 85 per cent said it’s important for their company to be considered sustainable. And 61 per cent even market and advertise their environmental credentials.
But three in 10 still admit their business ought to be more sustainable than it currently is, with 24 per cent blaming the pandemic for getting in the way of their short-term plans.A further fifth (22 per cent) feel their plans have been hit by supply chain issues and recent energy and fuel price rises are also causing 63 per cent to be concerned.
SME owners predict 26 per cent of their turnover is spent on green initiatives with 33 per cent believing they personally drive the change in their company. But they’re not doing it alone, with 22 per cent of businesses having a dedicated chief sustainability officer and eight in 10 admitted younger employees place more value on such measures.
Says Elliot Coad, CEO and Co-Founder of Ecologi:
“It’s promising to see how many businesses are already trying to make sustainable changes, but concerning that so many are still confused and some even believe it’s too late to make a difference.
“We aim to help businesses and individuals understand the steps they can take to become climate positive and enable them to tackle sustainability in a simple and accessible way through a monthly subscription. With collective action, the smallest of changes can have a big impact.”
To help SMEs find out if they’ve got what it takes to run an eco-friendly business, Ecologi has created a quiz highlighting different environmental scenarios to reveal how they would suffice.