Grass is greener for environmentally friendly businesses

17 April 2019

Barclays has today revealed that small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) not considering their eco-credentials could be missing a trick as environmental considerations become an ever-higher priority for consumers. 

  • Nearly half (45 per cent) of Brits look to buy from environmentally friendly businesses
  • Seven in ten workers (70 per cent) say it is important to them that their current or prospective employer has a green agenda
  • Barclays launches Green Loans, funding of up to £5 million available to SMEs aiming to invest in green projects

The research found that over half of Brits (57 per cent) placed going green highly on their personal agenda, with nearly half (45 per cent) actively seeking to purchase products or services from businesses that are environmentally friendly.

Ian Rand, Chief Executive of Barclays Business Banking, said: “In recent years, consumer trends and habits have clearly swung towards a more eco-based focus, and SMEs need to ensure they are adhering to the same values in order to strengthen and grow."

It’s not just consumers who are paying attention to a business’s approach to green but the workforce too. Seven in 10 workers (70 per cent) revealed it is important to them that their current or prospective employer is considered a green business, with the figure reaching nearly eight in 10 (77 per cent) amongst Gen-Z.

Research reveals that SMEs are starting to listen to consumer demands, with 22 per cent actively making changes to reduce their carbon footprint and a further 41 per cent looking to make changes within the next year. Over the next 12 months, SMEs in the North East (47 per cent), East Midlands (46 per cent) and the North West (45 per cent), look to be leading the way when wanting to introduce green polices.

To back UK SMEs with their green ambitions, Barclays Business Banking has launched Green Loans to assist business customers* with eco-friendly changes to their business. Lending of up to £5 million is available to SMEs looking to fund initiatives across energy efficiency, renewable energy, green transport, sustainable food, agriculture and forestry, waste management, and greenhouse gas emission reduction. SMEs can apply by speaking to their Relationship Manager.

Ian Rand concludes, “The launch of our Green Loans product is one way for companies to engage with their employees and customers, giving them the opportunity of accessible lending to adopt green policies across their business.”
For SMEs looking to cut their carbon footprint, Barclays has outlined the following top tips:

  • Buy sustainably: Next time the light bulbs need changing, consider compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED options, and opt for remanufactured printer cartridges, recycled paper and biodegradable cleaning product
  • Cut commutes: Introduce a flexible ‘work from home’ policy to reduce emissions and consider holding meetings remotely, with tools like video conferencing
  • Invest in renewables: Consider installing renewable energy equipment, such as solar panels, or ask your utilities provider for a green power supply
  • Buy supplies locally: This will help minimise shipping costs and your business’ carbon footprint
  • Spread the word: Bring colleagues and customers on board with going green and provide incentives for those who actively participate in green initiatives

More information on Green Loans, eligibility and how to apply along with Barclays’ broader range of Green Products

Notes to editor

*Green loans are available to Barclays Business Banking customers with turnovers up to £6.5m and Agriculture customers. Further details on Green Loans can be found on our website, or customers can speak to their Relationship Manager.

• Research of 2,003 consumers was carried out by Opinium between 12th-15th March 2019.

• Research of 1,001 UK SMEs was carried out by Opinium between 12th-27th March 2019.

• The launch of Green Loans closely follows Barclays announcing a dedicated £14bn lending fund as part of a series of initiatives to help SMEs succeed. The package of support includes:

• A £14bn dedicated lending fund for small and medium businesses (turnover of up to £25 million)

• More than 100 SME Brexit clinics and seminars being run in local communities across the country

• An established network of on-the-ground relationship management experts and industry specialists, based across the UK

About Barclays

Barclays is a transatlantic consumer and wholesale bank offering products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management, with a strong presence in our two home markets of the UK and the US.

With over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs 82,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit our website www.home.barclays