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SMEs less likely to prioritise climate action in 2022

NEECCo’s first corporate partner, Natwest have developed a Sustainable Business Tracker and found that SME sustainability plans have been negatively impacted by Covid-19 measures and the supply chain crisis.

Survey data from their first Sustainable Business Tracker revealed that UK SMEs have reduced their focus on sustainability action in comparison to levels seen prior to the pandemic. Sustainability plans have been particularly affected by the need to make further progress on recovery following pandemic-related lockdowns.

The survey, published at the start of 2022 has the following key highlights:

  • Slower recovery from the pandemic is holding back SME sustainability plans for this year
  • 41% of UK SMEs cite sustainability action as a high priority, down from 44% in February 2020, while 60% of large companies report sustainability action as a high priority, up from 57%
  • Meanwhile, SMEs reported another month of strong jobs growth and remain upbeat regarding the 2022 outlook, despite disruption caused by the Omicron variant

What is the Sustainable Business Tracker?

Natwest’s Sustainable Business Tracker is a new quarterly survey that reviews the progress the UK SME community is making in implementing sustainable and environmentally responsible practices, as well as the latest green attitudes and priorities and general trends. For example, the first survey reveals the biggest influence on SME’s efforts to improve environmental sustainability is customer expectations, followed by government legislation.

What do you think?

If you’re an SME, has your climate action been impacted by Covid-19 and supply chains? Where is climate action on your agenda for 2022?

As a corporate partner of NEECCo, Natwest is dedicated to supporting businesses in the North East on their sustainability journey and wants to engage in conversations with all organisations about the highs and lows of climate action.

Join us for an informal, roundtable discussion in Newcastle on 24th April to talk about your net zero journey, the level of importance sustainability holds within your business and how you think the future looks for business in the North East.

Lunch will be provided and we’ll finish with a networking session where you can speak to business peers in the North East about their journey. We’ll be joined by Robson Laidler Accounts and Sail Creative design agency who will tell us about their experience of becoming an accredited b-corp, prioritising people and planet alongside profit in their core business decisions.

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