2 out of 3 small businesses need more support to go green

Small businesses in the UK have called for additional support to go green, with nearly two-thirds saying they need more help to do so.

Four in five (80%) small business owners say that they want to improve the sustainability of their businesses, according to a survey of over 2,000 business owners by Small Business Britain and BT, and nearly one in four view ‘going green’ as a growth opportunity.

However, the survey found that two-thirds (64%) want greater support to make sustainability improvements and that a lack of finance is a substantial barrier for 41%.

More than three-quarters (77%) of those business owners said they had already made changes to be more sustainable but only one in five (20%) said what they had done was significant.

As a result, the ‘Small Business, Green Growth’ report is calling for the government and private sector to better support small businesses and the wider UK economy to realise the full potential of sustainable growth and achieve Net Zero by 2050. 

To help, Small Business Britain and BT have today launched applications for a new free, six-week ‘Sustainability for Small Business’ training programme which aims to help small businesses across the UK to better understand their environmental impact and identify and implement sustainable change.

There are 1,000 places on the online programme, which will focus on key sustainability topics such as measurement, accreditation, and financing.

The business owners surveyed admitted that economic factors such as the cost-of-living crisis and recession had impacted their ability to reduce emissions, with one-third (34%) saying it restricted what they had done and two-thirds (65%) calling for the wider availability of grants.

Despite the challenges, one in four (25%) said they recognised the financial benefits and business opportunity of going green. This was even more evident with newer companies.

Wilmer Carcamo, co-founder of Caribe Coffee, said: “As a small business, we prioritise sustainability as our customers expect that from us, and it’s the right thing to do.

“We use compostable packaging for all our coffee bags, donate our coffee sacks to a reuse and recycle community project, and would love to invest in an electric van and go further – but finances are a barrier.

He said affordability was a major factor for businesses like his. “We see the desire to do more in the small business community, but people are limited and need more support. While sustainable practices can unlock cost savings, this needs to be more affordable.”  

Michelle Ovens, founder of Small Business Britain, said the survey showed that small business owners overwhelmingly want to go greener. “However, the path they need to take is not clear at all,” she said.

“We need more leadership and ambition – across society, the private sector and with Government – to engage and educate this vital part of the economy and to find innovative solutions for the major challenges businesses now face, particularly around financing greener growth.” 

Climate crisisFinanceNet zeroNewsReports and data

2 Comments. Leave new

  • I’m pleased that you reported what Caribe Coffee is doing towards sustainability. This one report might inspire many more businesses. Please will you do the same with other businesses. Thank you

    Reply
  • I’m pleased that you reported what Caribe Coffee is doing towards sustainability. This one report might inspire many more businesses. Please will you do the same with other businesses. Thank you very much

    Reply

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