One in four businesses say sustainability is top 2014 priority

As New Year’s resolutions go, it seems quite a few small British businesses could be making theirs green. A new survey of more than 1,000 small to medium sized enterprises […]

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By Vicky Ellis

As New Year’s resolutions go, it seems quite a few small British businesses could be making theirs green.

A new survey of more than 1,000 small to medium sized enterprises found sustainability is one of three top priorities for a quarter (25%) of them. The firms polled by Gusto Research for Lloyds bank had a turnover of up to £25 million.

A third of the firms expect to increase their investment in sustainable business practices over the next five years.

Stephen Pegge, External Relations Director for 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.”

However the survey begs the question why more firms aren’t considering sustainability.

What’s more businesses aren’t looking at the full range of ways to be sustainable, suggest the findings, which show many are still focused on traditional ‘green’ activities such as energy saving and recycling.

They aren’t considering what sustainability means for their supply chains and sourcing.

Out of the firms which have brought in sustainable business practices, most (87%) believe there are clear benefits. More than half (54%) think it helps cut their costs and nearly a third (30%) believe it boosts their profitability.

More than a quarter (27%) feel it makes them a more attractive employer.

Healthcare seems to be the sector with the most “engagement”, with 100% of those polled stating they engage in some sort of sustainable practice.

That’s in comparison with nine out of ten in both the leisure and professional services sector and just fewer than nine out of ten (88%) in financial services.