A UK survey of 1,000 firms has found that the majority are planning net zero goals this year and expect business growth as a result, with smaller businesses also strongly on board.
According to the survey conducted by HSBC, more than three quarters (78 per cent) of UK firms expect sales to grow over the next year as a result of increased focus on sustainability.
Net zero targets
Almost nine in ten (86 per cent) said they had identified multiple opportunities to improve their environmental and ethical performance, with 75 per cent having metrics in place to measure their progress. These include measuring energy use (28 per cent), carbon emissions (21 per cent), and packaging materials and waste (20 per cent).
Most notably, 73 per cent of the businesses surveyed said they plan to introduce net zero emissions goals to their own operations and across their supply chains within the next year, showing that the net zero agenda is permeating across the economy.
Rob King, HSBC UK’s head of sustainable finance, said: “It’s extremely encouraging to see such a positive set of results following an unprecedented year faced by businesses across the country. The report tells us that firms genuinely want to build back better and have sustainability and the move to a net zero economy right at the top of their priority lists as they look to adapt their operations to the ‘new normal’.
“We see consumers having increasing expectations when it comes to sustainability and the companies they engage with and this greater focus on sustainability by businesses will help them to build their reputations and make better connections to their customers.”
Small businesses are also on board with the net zero transition. The State of Small Business Britain 2020 report on the SME sector, published by the Enterprise Research Centre in December, found that there was a rapidly growing awareness of net zero amongst smaller firms.
A recent survey conducted by the Enterprise Research Centre showed that 72 per cent of SMEs have taken steps to minimise the environmental impact of their business over the past year. More than half (52 per cent) of SMEs cite ‘reducing environmental impact’ as a business priority, with over a quarter saying it has become more important since the COVID-19 crisis.
An overwhelming 80 per cent of respondents agreed that businesses should spend more on environmental protection and that it should be considered part of a company’s bottom line.
Common practices being implemented by SMEs include changing production and/or distribution processes (54 per cent), moving to using more renewable energy (41 per cent), conducting staff training on environmental matters (36 per cent), introducing new low carbon products or services (35 per cent) and undertaking environmental reports or audits (31 per cent).
Posted under General Interest on 27 January 2021