27 January 2021

UK SME manufacturers lead way in setting sustainability goals, survey says

A cross-sector survey of UK SME decision-makers shows the manufacturing industry as a leading sector in implementing net-zero targets.

© Clayton Cardinalli/unsplash

The research, carried out by YouGov for energy services company, World Kinect Energy Service, surveyed 1,021 SME decision-makers across 12 different UK industries including hospitality, construction, retail, medical and health and manufacturing.

The study shows that over half of the UK manufacturing businesses have a sustainability framework in place to help reduce carbon emissions however, it also revealed that 23% of these firms do not have any plans in place at all.

It also showed that a third (33%) of operators in the manufacturing sector have seen their sustainable goals halted by the impact of COVID-19, as priorities have shifted, or they have had to close.

The study also identified the barriers that could prevent businesses from making further progress towards hitting sustainability targets with budget seen as the biggest hurdle with almost half citing financial costs as a significant challenge.

Commenting on the findings, Senior Director of Global Sustainability at  World Kinect Energy Service, Therese Gjerde said, 'Despite some sectors leading the way to reduce their carbon footprint, such as the manufacturing industry, we are still coming across so many businesses who simply aren’t ready for net-zero, which is reflected in this independent research. 

'The 2050 deadline for net-zero is a lot closer than people think and it can take time to develop a realistic, achievable strategy and even longer to implement it. Organisations must act now and start their sustainability journey by developing a long-term emissions reduction strategy that will benefit their impact on the environment'.