Move to a greener economy ‘presents opportunities’

New research from The Entrepreneurs Network, in partnership with The Enterprise Trust, finds the majority of entrepreneurs believe the shift to a greener economy represents an opportunity for business and a boost for the economy.

The majority of small and medium-sized businesses believe there are financial opportunities in the shift to a greener economy and that they personally can benefit from them, according to new Opinium polling commissioned for a new report by The Entrepreneurs Network and the Enterprise Trust.

The findings from the report, Green Entrepreneurship, challenge the historic assumption that pursuing sustainability is a hindrance to businesses and the economy.

It argues that harnessing the innovative products, ideas, and practices devised by Britain’s flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem will be critical to overcoming the environmental challenges facing the planet, while also providing an economic boost and positioning the UK at the forefront of the green growth sectors of the near future.

The survey reveals that businesses already have commercial as well as ethical incentives to ‘go green’. Entrepreneurs report that consumers and potential employees are seeking out green businesses.

Half of all businesses agreed that their customers expected them to take steps to be more environmentally responsible and 57 per cent agree that employees increasingly want to work in businesses that are seen as environmentally responsible.

SMEs are acting on this information: over half (54 per cent) have taken steps to become more environmentally friendly over the past few years, though nearly half (47 per cent) believe they could be doing more.

However, consumer and employee pressure alone will not be sufficient to meet major environmental challenges. The report argues that environmental problems are driven by market failures, where governments have not sufficiently made polluters bear responsibility for the full costs of their actions, nor sufficiently rewarded those who develop solutions to environmental challenges

Businesses are split on how well they think the government is doing in terms of helping them to profit by addressing environmental problems – most (38 per cent) think it is doing neither well or badly, while slightly more think it is doing badly (30 per cent) than well (24 per cent).

Meanwhile, equity investment is flowing into green businesses. Data from Beauhurst reveals that between 2015 and 2019 equity investment into startups described as ‘sustainable’ has more than trebled (204 per cent), while ‘environmental’ businesses saw a 94 per cent increase in equity raised.

Helen Booth, chief executive officer of the Enterprise Trust, said: “This report demonstrates unequivocally the critical role British entrepreneurs play in reducing our impact on the environment every day.

“The Government should be unrelenting in trying to harness the ingenuity of the UK’s environmentally-minded entrepreneurial community. The reality is, that it is only through the development of newer and better technologies that society will be able to overcome these pressing problems.”

Have your say...

Would you like to write your own Comment?

Your Comment

Your Name*
Please enter Your Name
Email Address*
Please enter an Email Address
Comment Subject*
Please enter a Comment Subject
Please enter your Comments
RefreshPlay AudioHelp
I agree to the terms of use.
Please agree to the terms

There were errors. Please see the messages above.