The research, commissioned by Lloyds TSB, was launched at an event at London’s Canary Wharf, which saw more than 200 local businesses hear how they could improve their environmental credentials and reap the commercial benefits of adopting sustainable policies.
Speaking at the breakfast event, John Maltby, managing director for Lloyds TSB Commercial, encouraged invited guests to think about the risks, issues and opportunities that sustainable policies can present, as well as the cost savings that can be achieved.
According to the report, the most common cause of ‘environmental inertia’ for business in the South East is the financial cost of taking action. Almost half of the firms canvassed cite cost as the principle downside of pursuing environmental initiatives.
Maltby tackled this preconception by urging firms to consider the benefits working towards a low carbon economy can bring, such as the difference it can make to the bottom line as well as boosting reputation and trust.
“The fact is that no business can afford to ignore the environmental issues. There are huge risks for any company that does not improve its credentials. Equally there are huge opportunities to be seized as well. Businesses that can think strategically about how environmental responsibility can help attract customers will position themselves well for future growth.” Maltby added.
Leo Johnson, co-founder of Sustainable Finance, and guest speaker, discussed how forward-thinking companies could no longer ignore the issue of sustainability.
Leo said: “Sustainability is a fundamental concern and one that can present many opportunities. By failing to act now, businesses could miss out on the future prospects the rapidly-growing green sector is set to yield.”
With the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games fast approaching, the event also highlighted how businesses who want to bid for 2012 contracts will need to be able to demonstrate their environmental credentials.
Former Olympians Steve Backley, who won silver in the javelin event in Sydney in 2000, and Roger Black, who won silver in the 400 metres in Atlanta spoke about their own experiences of the Olympic Games. London 2012 hopefuls and Lloyds TSB Local Heroes Soji Aiyenuro from Camden and Sebastian Tully-Middleton from Oxfordshire were also on hand for a question and answer session.