Small business challenges

Environment and sustainability
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One in seven (15%) of the businesses surveyed had put environmental plans on hold due to Brexit and the pandemic. However, we expect many to get back on track in 2022 for two reasons:

  • A quarter of business owners (24%) and leaders expect environmental issues to impact their business finances in 2022
  • A third say that becoming more sustainable will give their business a competitive advantage.

Concerns were raised, however, around the need to adapt to changing environmental policies and respond to pressures from green initiatives. Over a quarter of respondents expressed worries about each of these.

How passionate are businesses about being environmentally aware and sustainable?

Business owners and leaders are passionate about making their business more sustainable

Employees care about what the company is doing for the environment

Clients and customers care about what the company is doing for the environment

The top six ways businesses plan to become more environmentally friendly and sustainable in 2022

Over a fifth of businesses plan to use locally and sustainably sourced materials in 2022 to help their businesses become more environmentally friendly. The leisure, sports, and tourism industry is the keenest to be active in this area. 33% are planning to do this.

One strong trend we predict is that businesses will move towards more tangible environmental steps, focusing on measures that make a real difference. 24% believe that companies guilty of “greenwashing” will be increasingly exposed in the next year.

Biggest barriers for businesses to becoming more environmentally sustainable

In addition to the barriers listed above, 87% of business owners and leaders believe the government needs to offer more financial incentives for businesses to go green. 26% mention lack of legislation and 17% name lack of available information as barriers to businesses becoming greener.

Concerns around technology and the environment in 2022

Almost a third of respondents (30%) say that a lack of technology is a barrier to becoming more sustainable, but many are acting to change that. This year, 19% plan to use technology to improve the environmental credentials of their business.

However, with so many worried about keeping up with technology, investment in training and innovation will be needed to ensure that businesses meet their targets.

The industries most concerned about environmental challenges in 2022

Leisure, sport and tourism

Media and internet

Information research and analysis

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