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Most small businesses preparing for sustainability

Eight of ten SMEs plan to be more sustainable, but many admit to struggling with it in practice, according to new research. Thankfully, advice and support is available across the North West.

Eight of ten SMEs plan to be more sustainable, but many admit to struggling with it in practice, according to new research. Thankfully, advice and support is available across the North West. 

A survey of 100 SME owners in Britain found that nearly nine in ten value sustainability and believe their customers do too.

As a result, 80 per cent are planning to introduce more ethical and sustainable practices within the next five years, with many believing it will boost their customer base and help with staff attraction and retention as millennials begin to fill the labour market. Half of respondents cited ‘making a difference in the world’ as a core driver in and of itself. 

However, the majority admitted they are struggling to put sustainability into practice in reality. The perception that improvements were too costly to implement was by far the biggest perceived barrier.

Local support

Notably, more than half of respondents were yet to seek advice for their sustainability plans, despite external support being readily available for many.

In the North West, a number of support programmes are in place to help with sustainability, especially in relation to reducing costs through energy efficiency. 

Greater Manchester businesses can access award-winning, fully-funded support from the Business Growth Hub to improve energy efficiency, cut carbon emissions and develop products and services with higher environmental performance.

SMEs in Lancashire can also benefit from a dedicated energy efficiency support programme, while companies in the Liverpool City Region can access support for developing lower carbon products and services.