Barclays has revealed that small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) not considering their eco-credentials could be missing a trick as environmental considerations become an ever-higher priority for consumers.
The research found that over half of Scots (54 per cent) placed going green highly on their personal agenda, with nearly half (45 per cent) preferring to purchase products or services from businesses they believe are doing environmental good.
Stuart Brown, Head of SME Scotland at Barclays, said: “In recent years, consumer trends and habits have clearly swung towards a more eco-based focus, and SMEs need to ensure they are adhering to the same values in order to strengthen and grow.”
It’s not just consumers who are paying attention to a business’ approach to green but the workforce too. More than two-thirds (67 per cent) of workers in Scotland revealed it is important to them that their current or prospective employer is considered a green business.
Research reveals that Scottish SMEs are starting to listen to consumer demands, with 62 per cent putting ‘going green’ as a high priority on their agenda. More than a third (36 per cent) of Scottish SMEs believe they are leading the way and describe their business as already being green.
To back Scottish SMEs with their green ambitions, Barclays Business Banking has launched Green Loans to assist business customers* with eco-friendly changes to their business. Lending of up to £5 million is available to SMEs looking to fund initiatives across energy efficiency, renewable energy, green transport, sustainable food, agriculture and forestry, waste management, and greenhouse gas emission reduction. SMEs can apply by speaking to their Relationship Manager.
Stuart Brown concludes, “The launch of our Green Loans product is one way for companies to engage with their employees and customers, giving them the opportunity of accessible lending to adopt green policies across their business.”
For SMEs looking to cut their carbon footprint, Barclays has outlined the following top tips:
- Buy sustainably: Next time the light bulbs need changing, consider compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED options, and opt for remanufactured printer cartridges, recycled paper and biodegradable cleaning products
- Cut commutes: Introduce a flexible ‘work from home’ policy to reduce emissions and consider holding meetings remotely, with tools like video conferencing
- Invest in renewables: Consider installing renewable energy equipment, such as solar panels, or ask your utilities provider for a green power supply
- Buy supplies locally: This will help minimise shipping costs and your business’ carbon footprint
- Spread the word: Bring colleagues and customers on board with going green and provide incentives for those who actively participate in green initiatives