A survey reveals that companies have not yet adopted an environmental or social value strategy in the run-up to COP 26


September 20, 2021

  • A national business survey reveals that two-thirds (64%) of companies do not have an environmental sustainability policy
  • The survey also reveals that more than 8 out of 10 companies surveyed do not have a social value policy but are aware that social value has a positive impact on job creation.
  • 7 in 10 respondents (69%) say that an environmentally friendly approach is mainly about reducing carbon emissions
  • Most respondents (82%) consider recycling and reuse of items or materials to represent “environmental sustainability”.

A study published today by the British Chambers of Commerce and SUEZ reveals a significant gap between the awareness of British companies of the importance of an environmental, social and governance (ESG) approach and the number of them who put these policies in place.

The survey found that nearly seven in 10 companies (69%), out of more than 1,000 surveyed in the UK, believe that ‘environmental sustainability’ is about reducing carbon emissions, while most respondents ( 82%) think it is recycling and reuse. of materials. Still only 36% said they had an environmental sustainability policy in place, and 15% had a social value policy in place, falling to 9% for microenterprises. Four in ten companies (40%) said that implementing a social value policy is not seen as a priority at the moment.

Other research highlights include:

  • 71% believe that social value is having a positive impact on employee well-being or job creation
  • 46% think it’s about having a positive economic impact
  • 64% of companies trust their suppliers to adhere to sustainability and social value policies

Obstacles to the implementation of a social value policy

  • 40% do not consider the implementation of a social value policy as a priority at the moment
  • 23% believe there is a lack of demand from stakeholders – staff, customers and their own boards
  • 22% think the costs are too high

John Scanlon, Managing Director of SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK, said:

“With just two months of hosting COP26 in the UK, the time has come for a radical change of approach to making environmental and social value policies a central part of UK business strategy.

“Businesses are looking to government for an enabling regulatory framework that will help accelerate a green recovery and promote business growth that not only benefits our economy and our jobs, but also enriches local communities and protects the environment. environment.

“There is a clear need for top-down support to help unite businesses across the supply chain, given the mismatch between companies’ awareness of the value of environmental and social value policies and the critical lack of such policies in place. There is no long term future for companies if short term profit is sought at the expense of long term planning of environmental and social value policies.

“The objectives of COP26 will only be achieved if companies are involved and the perceived administrative and financial burdens linked to the integration of sustainable development policies are removed. Business union is essential if we are to collectively achieve the goals of the November World Climate Conference: bringing the parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change.

Shevaun Haviland, CEO of the BCC, said:

“This research highlights the gap between the clear understanding among UK businesses of the benefits that can flow from environmental and social value policies and the reality of how many actually have them in place.

“Considering the enormous upheavals they have undergone over the past 18 months, it is perhaps understandable that these have not been a priority. Yet the consequences that businesses will face if they do not adapt in the future cannot be ignored.

“This is why the Chamber Network supported his members To find more frecologically sustainable way of Make Business and identifyis lying possibilities to increase their social value impact.

But ggovernment too must help businesses help themselves, especially small businesses which naturally remain concerned about perceived additional costs and bureaucracy if they are to change. It’s not just about a greener future for businesses, it’s about securing a better future for everyone.


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