According to a survey of more than 2,500 businesses, 57% are planning to increase expenditure on sustainability, with separate research putting the figure as high as two thirds for manufacturers.
HSBC surveyed 2,500 businesses across 14 countries as part of its 'Made for the Future' report.
The survey is evidence of a broad global shift towards more holistic business models that “look beyond the narrow parameters of profits and shareholder value to include environmental sustainability and people”.
“Sustainability has gone beyond being a luxury brand differentiator to become pivotal to long-term success, driven by competition, customer demand and, according to 24 per cent of respondents, it is now an aspect of recruiting and retaining the best people,” the report explains.
Notably, nearly half (44 per cent) of UK companies surveyed said they plan to increase investment in sustainability over the next one to two years. The need to increase operational efficiency was a key driver for 30 per cent of respondents, followed by competition (28 per cent) and changing regulations (27 per cent).
In response to sustainability becoming increasingly important for companies of all sizes, HSBC UK Commercial Bank has recently launched a new green finance package for businesses, including specialist green hire, purchase, lease and asset loans.
Meanwhile, a separate survey focusing specifically on UK manufacturers commissioned by Lloyds Commercial Banking - which has launched its own green lending scheme - found that two thirds of manufacturers plan to invest in sustainability over the next two years.
The most common sustainability plans involved measures to reduce waste or recycle more (50 per cent), followed by cutting energy use (44 per cent), encouraging employees to reduce energy use (43 per cent), changing materials or processes (31 per cent), sustainable procurement (26 per cent), cutting back on travel (25 per cent) and greening fleets (22 per cent).
‘Not just a buzz word’
Steve Harris, head of manufacturing for large corporates at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Sustainability is not just a buzz word, it’s a social expectation and a reality for businesses today.
"Whilst this could be seen as a challenge for manufacturers, they’re seeing it as a real growth opportunity and are grabbing it with both hands.”
Posted under General Interest and Other Manufacturing on 7 August 2019