A quarter of UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have placed sustainability high on their list of priorities for the coming year, according to new research from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.
The bank quizzed UK SMEs on sustainability practices and found a third of survey respondents expect to increase their investment in sustainable business practices during the next five years.
More than half of the SMEs surveyed were fully aware of the cost benefits of implementing sustainable business practices.
However, most businesses also remain focused on traditional ‘green’ activities, including energy saving and recycling, as opposed to broader sustainable business practices involving sourcing and supply chains.
The majority of small firms (87 per cent) that have already implemented sustainable business practices believe there are clear benefits such as reduced costs, increased profitability and the chance to make a positive contribution to the wider environment.
Jon Pulford, area director for SME banking in Buckinghamshire, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, 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 economy can follow their example and help underpin the growth we are now seeing with practices that will give us all a sustainable future."
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