UK small business interested in going green

The results of a survey recently published by the Forum of Private Business in the UK indicate a high level of interest in going green by small and medium businesses in that country.

Among the results of the survey:

  • 41% of survey respondents have streamlined business processes, 28% have reduced energy usage, and 28% have embraced more energy efficient equipment. Only 10% have done nothing in the way of greening their business.
  • 77% of respondents disagree that being green is impossible in the present economic climate 52% argue that green taxes inhibit their ability to invest in reducing energy use and 75% believe that environmental legislation focuses on the needs of larger businesses rather than small firms.
  • 52% of the small businesses surveyed believe they cannot become more environmentally friendly until they are able to be more profitable.
  • 38% of respondents have used or recommended to their staff national or local environmental initiatives introduced by the Government, while 48% have not.
  • 33% of respondents believe ‘green’ energy providers are markedly more expensive than traditional suppliers and are therefore not worth considering, 38% disagree with this.
  • 38% of respondents have taken proactive cost control steps by switching utilities suppliers, but few businesses are using environmental consultants with over half of respondents (54%) indicating they do not believe they are appropriate for their businesses.
  • 73% of respondents focus on ‘common sense solutions’ to reducing waste but 31% only begin to assess how to reduce energy costs when they receive a bill or contract renewal form, while 16% use meters to identify poorly functioning equipment or inefficient processes.
  • 24% of panel members would consider installing energy generating equipment, such as wind turbines or solar panels if there were more loans or grants to help them to do so, 20% said they do not believe it is their decision to make because they rent their premises, the property is listed or they are trying to sell it.
  • 11% would like to know more about green technology so that they can maximise their use of it. Just as important for many respondents is accurate information about the costs and pay back terms involved.

Among the items the Forum is calling on the Government to implement are:

  • Think small first when producing environmental policies affecting businesses.
  • Incentivise the green agenda: rather than simply introducing taxes to persuade business owners that the green agenda is more than a revenue raising exercise with little in return, such as by providing environmental support structures that are more readily accessible to small businesses.
  • Clarify the business case for energy efficient technology and provide better information on the choices available.

The Forum of Private Business is a not-for-profit organisation providing comprehensive business support, protection and reassurance to small to medium-sized businesses across the UK.

More information about the survey is available at http://www.fpb.org/news/2446/Small_businesses_think_going_green_can_boost_their_bottom_line_but_see_tax_and_red_tape_as_barriers_to_environmentalism.htm

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