Two thirds (65 per cent) of small and medium-sized Yorkshire businesses want to improve their environmental sustainability, according to Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking’s Business Barometer.
Two fifths (39 per cent) say becoming more environmentally sustainable is important to them, while a quarter (26 per cent) say doing so is very important. Moreover, 70 per cent say they have already taken steps to make their businesses greener in the past 12 months.
Almost a third (31 per cent) of Yorkshire SMEs have purchased energy efficient equipment or machinery in the past year. Meanwhile, 19 per cent have used suppliers that source environmentally friendly products and services, and the same proportion have introduced policies and incentives to help employees reduce their carbon footprint.
While the commitment from businesses to make themselves more sustainable is good for the environment, a fifth (21 per cent) of Yorkshire firms admit they are primarily driven by the potential to make long-term cost savings. 21 per cent are motivated primarily by corporate social responsibility obligations.
As public focus on transitioning to a low carbon economy rises – and given the government target of bringing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 – (18 per cent) say they are motivated mainly by pressure from customers.
A third (30 per cent) of Yorkshire SMEs say they plan to use cash reserves to become more sustainable. Meanwhile, nine per cent say they will rely on government grants.
Seven per cent of Yorkshire SMEs said they had not made their businesses more environmentally sustainable in the past year due to the cost implications.
Kelly Green, regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “With environmental sustainability high on the agenda for firms of every size – whether that means they’re doing what they can to reduce energy consumption or cut waste – Yorkshire businesses understand there is often a financial benefit to making their operations greener.
“As ever, before making significant investments, businesses should consider all the available funding options to decide which is most appropriate for them. When it comes to going green there are options such as government grants and asset finance solutions that help spread the cost of an investment over its lifetime, and initiatives like our Clean Growth Finance Initiative, which offers discounted lending for green purposes.
“Regardless of motivation, we can be confident the impetus to introduce green measures isn’t going anywhere. Becoming more sustainable is a gradual process the UK business community must navigate together.”