Annual report reveals around one in four (22%) SMEs see environmental and sustainability challenges as the biggest concern for their business this year.

A new report reveals SME owners across the country are calling for more government funding to help businesses go green this year (87%), as over a third state their customers care about what their business is doing for the environment along with their own employees (24%). The annual 2022 business challenges report carried out by card payments specialist takepayments Limited, surveyed SME business owners and decision-makers across the UK to discover the current small business landscape for the year ahead. While the report findings reveal coronavirus restrictions as the biggest concern for small business owners for the year ahead (27%), around one in four (22%)  state environment and sustainability challenges as the biggest concern for their business (22%), second to coronavirus. This is due to a number of factors including worries of changing policies in relation to the environment (27%), concerns over customer demands for more sustainable products and processes (10%) as more than a fifth (18%) of business owners state they have noticed their customers caring more about sustainability over the past year, as well as pressures around sustainability and green initiatives in general (29%).

The biggest barriers for businesses to becoming more environmentally sustainable Percent
Lack of funding37%
Cost to implement34%
Customer and client demand32%
Lack of technology30%
Time to implement change28%
Lack of legislation26%
Lack of information available17%

The full findings of the Business Challenges report are available to view here.

As two-fifths (39%) of business owners state they are passionate about making their business more sustainable, lack of funding (37%) and the costs to implement more sustainable practices and measures (34%) to their business was revealed as the biggest barriers to becoming more environmentally sustainable. In fact, one quarter (24%) of small business owners state they see environmental issues negatively impacting their business’s finances in 2022. With the financial implications in mind, it comes as no surprise that an impressive 87% think the government needs to offer more financial incentives for businesses to go green, as one in four believes implementing sustainable practices will positively impact the bottom line for their business and a third (33%) say that becoming more sustainable will give their business a competitive advantage. Sandra Rowley at takepayments limited said: 

“It’s evident from our findings that small business owners need extra financial support from the government to keep up with the increasing customer demands for sustainable products and processes.  

Despite the lack of financial support to make those bigger changes to their business, small businesses owners plan on making small changes this year to become more sustainable as one in five (22%) state they will use local and sustainable materials this year, as well as looking into ways to make their workplace more fuel-efficient (18%) with switches such as automatic lights and insulations as well as plans to cut down on the amount of waste their business produces (18%). ”? 

For further information on the challenges facing UK small businesses read the 2022 report.