SMEs switching to UK supply to combat climate change

The latest NatWest Sustainable Business Tracker shows signs that UK businesses are seeking to reduce the carbon footprint of their supply chains with the strongest sustainability intentions by business since February 2020.

Half (46 per cent) of SMEs have switched to UK suppliers as part of efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and 66 per cent of SMEs either have or plan to re-shore some of their supply chain to the UK within next five years.

Andrew Harrison, head of business banking at NatWest Group, said: “Global supply chain pressures have focused SMEs’ priorities on switching to UK suppliers. This ensures they have the consistency they need while matching up to their increased sustainability priorities. It’s good news that it’s been pared with a higher prioritisation of low carbon energy consumption as well as ambitions to increase recycling.”

Another way that firms have readjusted their global supply chains has been through switching to suppliers that have environmental credentials, with 28 per cent of surveyed SMEs having done this already. A further 20 per cent of SMEs are planning to switch to suppliers with better environmental credentials over the next year.

Three of the five sustainability priorities of the Sustainable Business Tracker increased since March 2022, with low carbon energy consumption seeing the biggest rise in prioritisation. SMEs indicated that increasing recycling (60 per cent) and having cleaner business processes (54 per cent) were the next biggest focus areas of sustainability, with both rising in priority since March.

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