Green Issues Less Important in the Recession
Small firms are choosing to cut back on measures to help the environment during the recession, research from the Government’s environmental guidance website Netregs has revealed.
A Netregs survey of 7,000 small firms found that there had been a 75 per cent drop in those with a formal environmental management system (EMS) in place since 2007. An EMS is a set of processes and practices that enable a business to monitor and manage its environmental position.
The research also found that just 23 per cent of small businesses now have an environmental policy, compared with 39 per cent in 2007.
“Our survey has unearthed a level of denial among some small businesses who still don’t acknowledge the harm that they can do to the environment nor recognise the business opportunity it presents to them,” said NetRegs.gov.uk strategy manager, Debbie Chatting.
“Many companies in the supply chain now include specific environmental questions in their tender forms, so by building measures into your business plan, training your staff and taking an environmentally responsible stance throughout your business, you will reap the rewards of winning more work,” she added.
However, a Forum of Private Business spokesman said it was unsurprising that green measures were not a priority in 2009.
“Overwhelmingly, small businesses are concerned about costs,” he said. “It’s reasonable to assume that many businesses view being environmentally friendly as a nice idea, rather than a central business practice, and it seems that green measures are being put aside for the time being.”
However, the spokesman added that small firms needed to be made more aware of the cost-saving benefits that basic green policies could offer, such as saving paper, and monitoring energy and water consumption.
“There’s no doubt that a number of fairly simple practices can directly control costs, and lots of businesses have tuned into this in the past two to three years,” he said. “It can make very good business sense to install environmental measures, but what’s needed is more awareness of how to implement these in a cost-effective and straightforward way.”
For more information about the measures businesses can adopt to help the environment, visit the Netregs website www.netregs.gov.uk