Scottish businesses pump more time and money into raising environmental game despite Covid woes

Two thirds of Scottish businesses have worked to become more environmentally sustainable over the past year despite coping with the financial fallout from Covid-19, a new survey suggests.

Fraser Sime, regional director for Scotland at Bank of Scotland, which is part of Lloyds Banking Group.
Fraser Sime, regional director for Scotland at Bank of Scotland, which is part of Lloyds Banking Group.

More than half (56 per cent) of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) said becoming more green is important to their business – though that is 13 percentage points fewer than the proportion that said the same in 2019 (69 per cent).

Despite the challenges and disruption caused by the pandemic, 68 per cent of Scottish SMEs have continued to work to become more environmentally sustainable in the past 12 months, according to Bank of Scotland’s commercial banking business barometer.

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Getting on for a third said they have invested in energy efficient equipment or machinery (28 per cent) or made alterations to their premises to make them more energy efficient (27 per cent).

Meanwhile, 20 per cent have used suppliers that source environmentally friendly products and services, while a similar proportion introduced policies and incentives to help employees cut their carbon footprint.

Fraser Sime, regional director for Scotland at Bank of Scotland: “Scottish business have experienced major disruption this year because of Covid-19, so it’s encouraging to see so many that are still focused on improving their environmental credentials.

“Environmental sustainability will play a huge part in the success of Covid-19 recovery strategies, both in Scotland and across the UK.”

When it comes to Scottish SMEs’ sustainability drivers, pressure from customers (20 per cent), long-term cost savings (19 per cent) and firms’ corporate social responsibility policies (14 per cent) are the top three factors.

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