A quarter of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) say sustainability will be one of their top three priorities this year, despite the fact many are struggling to move beyond implementing simple green measures.
According to research from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, while SMEs are quite comfortable undertaking traditional activities such as energy saving and recycling, a significant number have still yet to adopt a broader range of sustainable business practices.
The study found for example, that SMEs are less likely to offer a clear business code of conduct (46%), work responsibly within a supply chain (42%) or operate an ethical sourcing policy (25%). It also highlighted the fact that there are still businesses who do not believe there are any benefits to be gained from implementing such practices.
However of those businesses that have implemented sustainable business practices, most believe there are clear benefits in doing do. More than half (54%) believe it helps reduce their costs, just under a third (3%) believe it increases their profitability, while more than two-fifths (42%) cite that it makes a positive contribution to the environment.