Customer expectation is the greatest driver for SMEs improving environmental sustainability, finds survey

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8th February 2022 17:44 - Utilities

Customer expectation is the greatest driver for SMEs improving environmental sustainability: A survey of SME leaders and decision makers at UK businesses has revealed that when it comes to improving environmental sustainability in the short term, customer expectation to do this is the biggest driver (50%), followed by changing government legislation (44%).

The research by Natwest, which will be repeated every three months, also found that company reputation, improved profitability and changing investor demands, also influenced decision makers to improve sustainability. 

Also revealed by the survey was that there has been a fall in the number of SMEs who see environmental sustainability as a priority in the short term. A little more than two-fifths (41%) of respondents said that improving sustainability was a 'high priority' for their company, compared to 44% who said the same 12 months ago. However, for larger companies, the desire to improve sustainability over the next 12 months has increased, from 57% in December 2020, to 60% in December 2021. 

Despite a fall in the number of companies who see sustainability as a priority for them, the need to buy low-carbon energy and monitor supply chain sustainability has remained a top priority for SMEs, according to the poll, however, larger companies were more committed to this. Delving a little deeper into the elements of environmental sustainability that have fallen as a priority for SMEs, the survey highlighted 'recycling' and 'developing new sustainable products'. 

SMEs polled in the survey were from across a broad range of sectors including retail, hospitality and leisure, construction and manufacturing, as well as professional services.

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