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UK SMEs go sustainable to tap into £750M ‘Green Pound’

Eco-conscious business owners are causing a transformation amongst our ‘nation of shopkeepers’, with new research showing how people are willing to collectively spend almost a £1bn extra on businesses that do their bit for the environment.

The report suggests that nearly a quarter of businesses worry about missing out on trade because their business is not sustainable enough. As the pandemic hit and many businesses were forced to close, 51% have introduced new measures to increase sustainability including reducing plastics introducing energy efficient equipment, going paperless or getting a smart meter.

The move follows a shift in consumer demands since the pandemic, with the research showing how people are keen to see pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and convenience stores, amongst other businesses, do their bit to go green. Nearly half of the nation say they are more likely to visit a business that cares about sustainability. Over a third would pay more for a meal out if the business was becoming more sustainable, with similar figures for groceries, hotels and pubs.

On average, customers would be willing to spend an extra £5 per treatment at a hairdresser if the salon invested in energy efficient equipment, eco-friendly products, took steps to reduce their plastic usage, or got a smart meter – clearly it pays to be green.

A key way small businesses can contribute to supporting the environment is by installing a smart meter. Nearly half of small businesses now have a smart meter. The research shows how, on average, small businesses have manged to reduce their usual bill by £394 a year due to being able to make more informed decisions about their equipment and ways of working. More than three quarters of businesses that have a smart meter have said they’re more conscious about the energy usage of their business.

Smart Energy GB’s Fflur Lawton said: “The last 18 months have been incredibly tough for businesses but with the world starting to re-open, we’re all looking forward to the Great British Summer. Lots of businesses have been looking at ways they can optimise themselves and invest in their green credentials which are becomingly increasingly more important to consumers. Over the last year we’ve seen businesses invest in more sustainable practices such as tracking their energy by using smart meters.

46% of micro businesses already use a smart meter to help keep track of their energy usage and checking if your business is eligible for a smart meter couldn’t be easier. Every single one fitted across the country is a positive step towards a smarter nationwide energy system.”

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