Going green doesn’t help SMEs in the red

Environmental concerns have been pushed to one side as the recession has forced small businesses to refocus their priorities.

Only 9 per cent of SMEs say they are putting significant investment into environmentally-friendly practices, while 37 per cent admit they are doing little or nothing to make their workplaces greener, up from 30 per cent in 2007, according to finance provider GE Capital.

John Jenkins, CEO of GE Capital UK, says: ‘There is no doubt that the recession has had a major impact on SME’s attitudes and strategies towards green investments. Many firms may have chosen to defer or halt any further outlay into energy and CO2 efficient equipment, preferring to consolidate their financial positions instead.

‘As the economy starts to recover it is vital that this plateau in attitudes is reversed, particularly if SMEs are to make their full contribution to reducing emissions while still supporting economic growth.’

The research also finds that manufacturing, IT, telecoms and media are the sectors that have done the most to reduce their emissions, with retail and leisure having done the least.

Of the 500 owner-managers surveyed, 42 per cent say tax breaks would be the most effective incentive to encourage environmentally-friendly behaviour, while 13 per cent cited more regulation.

Price of going green too high for SMEs

Small businesses find cost too big a deterrent to adopting green practices.

According to research among 1,000 IT decision makers by printer company Epson, 84 per cent want greener workplaces but more than half cite cost as a main limitation.

Some 30 per cent of respondents admit they have put off investing in green technologies because they are not sure how to go about becoming greener.

When asked why they want their businesses to be greener, almost half of respondents state that they want to help save the environment (46 per cent).

While the majority cite cost as a barrier, almost a third say their motivation for going green is the potential cost savings (31 per cent) and 11 per cent believe it will help their corporate image.

Related: SMEs need help to go green

Related Topics