Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
11:00 PM 10th July 2024

Nearly A Third Of UK Businesses Have No Sustainability Strategy

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Almost a third of UK middle market businesses don’t yet have a sustainability plan or strategy in place – highlighting a worrying lack of formal commitment to outline targets, track progress and deliver actions to improve the impact that business has on its community and the environment.

According to RSM UK’s latest ‘The Real Economy’ findings, 30% of businesses said they didn’t have a sustainability strategy in place. This includes a quarter (25%) planning on creating one in the next 12 months and another 5% stating they had no plans to create any formal strategy.

In addition, almost a quarter of businesses (24%) still haven’t set net-zero targets to reduce emissions produced by their business despite key efficiencies and cost savings this could deliver. Encouragingly, almost three quarters of businesses (74%) have set net zero targets, but of these businesses, 21% don’t have a strategy or transition plan in place to reach these targets.

Rich Hall, partner in RSM UK's Hull office and national head of sustainability, said:
“The delay in formalising a plan for many businesses could be due to sustainability fatigue. Globally, there are different levels of proactivity around the green agenda, and when you combine this with inconsistency in strategy both here in the UK and across the globe, the complexity can be exhausting, and in some cases, lead to paralysis.

“With upcoming legislation that will require businesses to disclose not only climate but broader sustainability risk, businesses need to create a comprehensive strategy, underpinned with a funding plan, that is embedded at board level, throughout the business and its supply chain. Rooting sustainability within the culture and fabric of a business will not only facilitate progress and mitigate risk, but unlock commercial opportunities; increase competitive edge; and attract key talent to an organisation.

“UK businesses need clarity on how we build a green economy, and the impact business has on supporting this. The government has established a climate change strategy but what is missing is an industrial strategy that sets out how the key energy sources and investment framework, including R&D and tax incentives, will deliver change. Many businesses will be looking to the new government to deliver this wider strategy to allow them to invest in sustainability with confidence.”