North West firms commit to a greener 2021

New survey reveals the more than half of SMEs in the North West remain committed to becoming more sustainable in 2021 despite the COVID-19 crisis. Tony McDonough reports

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North West firms are committed to a more sustainable 2021


Businesses in Merseyside and across the North West are committed to becoming greener and more sustainable in 2021 despite the COVID-19 crisis, a new survey reveals.

According to the latest Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking’s Business Barometer, 56% of firms in the region aid becoming more environmentally sustainable is important to their business – just nine points fewer than the proportion that said the same in 2019 (65%).

Despite the challenges of the last year and the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, almost two thirds (62%) of SMEs have continued to work to become more environmentally sustainable in the past 12 months.

READ MORE: Mersey firms needed for renewable energy project

Almost a third said they had made alterations to their premises to improve energy efficiency (30%) or used suppliers that source environmentally friendly products and services (29%) in the last year. A quarter (24%) also introduced polices and incentives to help employees reduce their carbon footprint, while a fifth (19%) invested in energy efficient equipment or machinery.

When it comes to sustainability drivers, long-term costs savings (20%), firms’ corporate social responsibility policies (19%) and pressure from customers (18%) are the top three factors. The study also found that cash reserves (42%) and Government grants (14%) remain the most popular forms of finance for SMEs looking to improve their environmental performance.

Martyn Kendrick, regional director for the North West at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Environmental sustainability has been high on the agenda for North West businesses for some time, so it’s encouraging to see many are still prioritising it despite the disruption and uncertainty caused by COVID-19.

“Sustainability will play a key part in coronavirus recovery strategies, and help the North West as a whole build back better. We’re committed to ensuring that our customers are fully supported to transition to a low carbon economy.

“We’re standing by the side of businesses across the region with discounted funding for green initiatives and relationship teams specially trained to help put sustainability plans into action.”

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