A survey has found that 25 per cent of UK small- and medium-sized businesses are putting sustainable practice such as recycling and energy savings as a top priority for 2014.
However, the study commissioned by Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking found many businesses are focussed on these traditional sustainable activities rather than exploring sustainable business practices in their supply chains and sourcing.
The survey also highlighted that there are still many businesses that do not believe there are benefits to be gained from implementing such practices.
Lloyds Banking Group external relations director Stephen Pegge said: “Businesses clearly see the benefits of sustainability, and they are carrying out their environmental responsibilities through recycling and being energy efficient.
“But for SMEs, sustainability also means interacting with charities, social enterprises and the community in which they operate; working responsibly within their supply chain and engaging with the next generation, through, for example, apprenticeship schemes.
“Some sectors are really leading the way and other industries across the UK economy can follow their example and help underpin the growth we are now seeing with practices that will give us all a sustainable future.”
Of the businesses that have implemented sustainable practices, 54 per cent reported that it had helped them to reduce costs and under a third believe it increases their profitability.
While 89 per cent of those surveyed engage in recycling and energy saving, only 42 per cent work responsibly with their supply chain.
Looking forward, a third expect to increase their investment in sustainable business practices over the next five years while 42 per cent expect it to remain flat.