Investment in sustainability becoming mainstream for UK businesses, report indicates

Significant numbers of UK businesses are planning to increase their environment-related investments over the next two years, a new report from HSBC indicates.

Influenced by consumer-led demands for low-carbon sustainable ‘products and services, coupled with new green legislation, almost half of the 2,500 businesses surveyed said they would be allocating their investments in more sustainable projects.

HSBC’s 2019 ‘Made for the Future’ report assesses how businesses from a range of sectors  plan to allocate their investments to prepare for future social, economic and environmental trends  and 44% of the UK-based businesses to respond said they plan to increase their environment-related investments between now and summer 2021. Of those, 70% said they would use their existing profits to take this action.

The reasons cited for this action were operational efficiency, maintaining a competitive edge over market peers and changing regulations from Government and local authorities.

More than two thirds (69%) said the money would be used to make manufacturing more sustainable or to minimise indirect environmental impacts such as the emissions generated, or water used, through the use of their products and services. Improving internal operating practices and improving the efficiency of buildings and equipment also featured in responses.

“Nearly half of companies are telling us that they plan to increase sustainability investment over the next two years, and we can see that number only rising in the future as businesses respond to the need to become more environmentally focused,” HSBC’s head of sustainable finance for the UK, Rob King said. He believes the Government’s net-zero target is the driver for this trend.

“Many stakeholders are now considering a company’s green credentials when making decisions about whether to work with, work for or invest in that company,” he added.

HSBC has just launched a new range of green finance services aimed at helping organisations boost their environmental credentials through investment in sustainable initiatives to coincide with the opening of London’s Green Finance Institute and publication of the Government’s Green Finance Strategy.