Courtesy navigation

News

August 12, 2011

Going green still possible in difficult market, say small firms

Three-quarters of small firms believe it is still possible to be green in the current economic climate, research from the Forum of Private Business (FPB) has found.

The FPB poll of 106 businesses found that the majority believed being green was beneficial to their bottom line and have implemented greener practices despite the difficult economy.

More than a quarter of firms have reduced their energy consumption and a similar number have invested in energy-efficient equipment. In addition, around four in ten have tightened up business processes, such as cutting down on travel or switching utility providers.

However, the study highlighted that financial constraints were still a barrier for some firms when it came to making big changes. More than half (52 per cent) believed they could not be greener until they were more profitable, with most seeing green technology, such as smart meters, as too expensive.

FPB spokesman Phil McCabe said that business owners understood the business benefits of being green but were realistic about investing in the current climate.

“Most firms understand that measures such as switching utility supplier and cutting down on waste are straightforward, low-cost and give immediate payback,” he said. “But certain equipment, like solar panels and wind turbines, require pretty hefty investment and although the benefits are clear in the long-term, no business is going to overstretch itself at the moment.”

The Carbon Trust director of delivery Ian Gibson, said that businesses that do not embrace the green economy risk losing out. “As larger firms look to reduce carbon in their supply chains, small firms that don’t act now could get cut out in favour of greener competitors,” he said.

A recent Carbon Trust poll found that 65 per cent of consumers preferred to buy products from environmentally responsible companies.