Green in­ten­tions hin­dered by costs

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - BUSINESS - BY KEITH FIND­LAY

Nearly 80% of UK small and medium-sized en­ter­prises (SMEs) en­cour­age em­ploy­ees to be more en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­si­ble.

But the cost of goods is still more im­por­tant than their en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact when it comes to procur­ing prod­ucts for 76% of SME own­ers.

The find­ings are based on Close Broth­ers As­set Fi­nance (CBAF)’s quar­terly sur­vey of 900 firms in the UK and Ire­land.

CBAF chief ex­ec­u­tive Neil Davies said: “These re­sults demon­strate the de­ci­sions busi­ness own­ers are faced with ev­ery day.

“On the one hand they re­ally want to be

“They want to be eth­i­cal but they need to pro­tect their prof­its”

eth­i­cal in the pur­chas­ing choices they make but on the other they need to pro­tect their prof­its.

“What is en­cour­ag­ing is that the will is ob­vi­ously there. As less en­vi­ron­men­tally dam­ag­ing prod­ucts be­come avail­able and, im­por­tantly, af­ford­able, they will be con­sid­ered by those mak­ing the pur­chas­ing de­ci­sions.”

Re­cy­cling is a pri­or­ity for 81% of firms, most no­tably in the en­gi­neer­ing sec­tor, where re­cy­cling rates rise to 92%.

Mr Davies said: “There are well-known is­sues with re­cy­cling in the UK, in­clud­ing China’s de­ci­sion to ban for­eign waste im­ports.

“That, with the pub­lic’s in­creased aware­ness of the im­pact of plas­tic, ap­pears to be ac­cel­er­at­ing pos­i­tive changes to the UK’s re­cy­cling sys­tem, which will make the ef­forts busi­nesses are mak­ing worth­while.”

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of SMEs would con­sider giv­ing staff a day off a year to vol­un­teer for en­vi­ron­men­tal causes.

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