Print and branding specialists Solopress have investigated the ways in which UK businesses are pushing for a sustainable future, how the public has responded, and how our businesses can continue to contribute to net zero emissions going forward.
- 85% of businesses surveyed by Solopress say that sustainability is currently a priority.
- Sustainability is cited as the fourth biggest growth driver among companies looking to expand in the next two years.
- 45% of companies surveyed say they plan to increase sustainable investment in the next 1-2 years. Among them, 65% plan to increase their level of investment by more than 5%.
- European ‘net zero’ start-ups raised a total of £2.1 billion from venture capital funds in the last pre-pandemic year – a 129% increase on the prior year.
- “Sustainable, resilient operations” will be the number one biggest business trend for 2022 according to Forbes.
- 69% of consumers are willing to endorse a brand that acted on their environmental and social values.
- 79% of UK business representatives surveyed by Solopress considered sustainability while carrying out current marketing activity. 87% of those highlighted a greater focus on sustainability when it comes to future marketing activity.
- Three in four businesses have set sustainability targets in 2021 and 86% expect their sales to grow as a result of adopting more sustainable practices.
- Nearly half of the UK workforce admits to being more environmentally responsible at home than they are in the office.
- 57% per cent of people aged between 18 and 34 would prefer to work for an employer who shared their environmental values.
Sustainability for Growth
Facilitated by public awareness projects, campaigners, and government pledges, climate change has become a pressing issue for large and small businesses alike. The UK government has a legally-binding net zero target by 2050 and has new interim targets to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035. Following the COP26 Summit, 90% of the world’s GDP is now covered by net zero pledges.
With this in mind, a growing number of businesses have been investing in their efforts to become more sustainable. Sustainability has been cited as the fourth-biggest growth driver amongst companies looking to expand in the next two years, while 45% of companies surveyed say they plan to increase investment in the next 1-2 years. Among them, 65% plan to increase their level of investment by more than 5%.
Data also shows that investors have been displaying more willingness to invest in sustainable businesses, even before the pandemic. Statistics from Tech Nation show that European net zero start-ups – that is, companies with no negative impact on the environment – raised a total of £2.1bn from venture capital funds in the last pre-pandemic year. That figure, a 129% increase compared to the year prior, is indicative of the growing importance of sustainability to the success of a business.
With 3/4 businesses setting sustainability targets in 2021 and sustainable operations highlighted by Forbes as the biggest business trend for 2022, prioritising sustainability within businesses seems set to continue to attract greater investment.
We’ve also seen a dramatic increase in the demand for – and subsequent introduction of – sustainably-produced products and sustainable marketing strategies over the past few years. For example, a recent study conducted by B2B Marketing found that 69% of consumers were willing to endorse a brand that acted on their environmental and social values.
Similarly, Solopress findings from November 2021 revealed that 79% of surveyed UK business representatives considered sustainability while carrying out current marketing activity. 87% of those highlighted a greater focus on sustainability when it comes to planning future marketing activity, presaging a rapidly growing trend for 2022. As businesses look to adapt their approach and meet challenging net-zero targets in the coming years, sustainable marketing practices must become a key consideration.
It is crucial, however, for businesses to execute this strategy properly, and with a sincere commitment to the environment. In 2020, fuel company Shell asked Twitter followers what they were willing to do in order to reduce emissions. Given Shell’s past environmental discretions and the overall impact of fossil fuels, they were subsequently accused of greenwashing, a term used to describe deceptive marketing strategies that overstate a company’s environmental credentials.