Almost half (49 per cent) of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK say that environmental initiatives are not a priority for them, while 60 per cent have called on the government to make environmental schemes more affordable.
According to business lender Capify, most SMEs said they are doing everything they can to be more climate friendly, including recycling more, reducing waste, creating a paperless workplace and cutting down on unnecessary travel.
However, 49 per cent said that making their SME more environmentally friendly was not a priority for the next 12 months.
And despite 60 per cent wanting more financial incentives from the government and lower costs for greener solutions, just 10 per cent said they would prioritise greener initiatives if they had 20 per cent more cash in the bank.
“Climate change may be the defining issue facing our generation, but for small business owners battling the effects of the pandemic and Brexit, it’s understandable many need to put the immediate needs of their staff and business first,” said John Rozenbroek, chief finance officer at Capify.
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“SMEs who responded to our survey said they’re doing everything in their power to be greener. And while most said they were concerned about their industry’s CO2 footprint, the current economic environment means all of that has to take a backseat for now.
“That’s unless the government can provide support to make those changes for the business owners being hit the hardest. Without vital intervention, it’s difficult to see how this stalemate can be resolved.”
Around 35 per cent of those surveyed by Capify said that they wanted “more understanding about what we can do”, while 33 per cent said it was important to see more of the country’s largest firms leading the way.
Around 55 per cent said they were concerned about their industry’s impact on the environment, and 40 per cent said they had done “everything” they could to be more green.