Over 90% of SMEs say environmental sustainability is an important issue for their business, finds suvey

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11th January 2022 12:06 - Utilities

Over 90% of SMEs say environmental sustainability is an important issue for their business: A survey by Lloyds Banking Group has revealed that more than nine in 10 small or medium sized businesses see environmental sustainability as a crucial problem for their business.

The poll of over 1,000 people, however, also found that four in 10 of these businesses are unsure of how the government's commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050 will affect them.

The pandemic has affected businesses in many different ways, but 45% of those surveyed stated that Covid has made them think about their business’ impact on the environment more than they had previously.

A quarter of participants were not aware of the goal set by the government, to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, according to the poll. More than two-fifths (45%) of small businesses with 10-19 employees stated they have no commitment, or plans to commit to net-zero by 2050. This is in comparison to 95% of larger SMEs expressing their dedication to the cause.

When questioned about the potential benefits of working towards net-zero, just one in five participants reported that employee engagement and attraction as a reasonable benefit. This is despite many surveys showing how many Millennials and Gen Z job hunters look at the sustainability credentials of a company before applying for a role.

The study revealed that just 15% of SME business representatives saw the goal of net-zero transmissions as a potential, new investment opportunity, leaving the majority not convinced about the prospective monetary gains. Furthermore, four in 10 said they were unsure what net-zero emissions would have on their company, with many struggling to see any benefit.

Glenn Bemment, head of ESG, SMEs and mid-corporates at Lloyds bank, said: ‘For the smallest of SMEs, many of which will be focused on their immediate needs and recovery from the impact of the pandemic, it’s important not to lose sight of the value they themselves recognise in sustainability.’

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