Over 50% of UK businesses will not invest in environmental schemes during 2019, a new business census has found.
A survey conducted by global credit company Creditsafe about business leaders’ plans for the year ahead revealed that 51% didn’t expect to invest in initiatives to improve the environment, despite growing awareness.
The survey, completed by 755 business leaders, found that just under one-third of businesses did plan to spend money on supporting workplace schemes such as cycle-to-work or recycling.
Creditsafe’s UK CEO Chris Robertson said: ‘It’s been a memorable year for businesses in Britain, with Brexit dominating the media headlines and uncertainty around our role in the EU still rife.
‘The impact of economic uncertainty on the optimism of business leaders for 2019 will undoubtedly gain the attention of business bodies and the government, who should take note of these less tangible, yet still important, impacts of their actions.’
The census also found that businesses across the UK expect economy and recruitment to be their biggest challenges this year.
Despite their concerns, 90% of UK businesses said they expect they will be able to grow in 2019.
69% of businesses said they have been affected by bad debts, with transport and logistics the industry most commonly reporting this problem.
89% of respondents in the transport and logistic industry reported having been affected by bad debts, followed by travel and tourism (80%) and food and drink (76%).
Brexit was unsurprisingly the biggest concern for many businesses, as 35% of business leaders said they had already been negatively impacted by it.
Larger businesses reported being hardest hit by the UK’s imminent departure from the European Union, with 67% of businesses over 500 people saying they had been affected.
In related news, a House of Commons committee accused leading fashion retailers of a ‘shocking’ lack of commitment towards environmental sustainability.
In an interim report published today, the EAC found several retailers to be trailing behind the rest of the fashion industry with JD Sports, Sports Direct, Amazon UK and Boohoo the worst offenders.
The parliamentary committee found that of the retailers above, none had signed up to the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) – the industry-led plan to reduce carbon, water or waste – or the international ACT initiative concerning living wages for textile workers.
Chair of the EAC, Mary Creagh MP, said: ‘We want to see a thriving fashion industry that employs people fairly, inspires creativity and contributes to the economic success of the UK.
‘It’s shocking to see that a group of major retailers are failing to take action to promote environmental sustainability and protect their workers.
‘It’s disappointing that only a third of the retailers we wrote to are signed up to ACT, an important global initiative working towards getting a living wage for all garment workers.’