NEW RESEARCH from Lloyds Bank reveals that a quarter of British SMEs plan to make sustainability a top priority for 2014.
The research also showed that over half of those surveyed recognise the cost benefits of implementing sustainable business practices and a third expect to increase their investment in sustainability over the next five years.
Despite these welcome figures the findings also show that not enough businesses truly understand the range of potential initiatives, as most are still focused on 'green activity' such as energy saving as opposed to broader practices such as sourcing and supply chains
Stephen Pegge, External Relations Director, Lloyds Banking Group, said: “Businesses clearly see the benefits of sustainability, and they are carrying out their environmental responsibilities through recycling and being energy efficient.
“But for SMEs, sustainability also means interacting with charities, social enterprises and the community in which they operate; working responsibly within their supply chain and engaging with the next generation, through, for example, apprenticeship schemes.
“Some sectors are really leading the way and other industries across the UK economy can follow their example and help underpin the growth we are now seeing with practices that will give us all a sustainable future.”
The figures from Lloyds Commercial banking arm also shows a worrying misunderstanding of the benefits of implementing sustainable practices, with only a third of businesses believing that it would increase their profitability. This is despite recent research revealing the billions of pounds UK businesses are losing as a result of not implementing sustainable initiatives.
However, many businesses are waking up to the benefits of sustainable practices, with a third believing it raised awareness of brand perception and over a half believing it could save them money.