Industry news for intermediaries and business introducers
Tony Geary, our National Head of Business Development, looks at how more and more businesses across the UK are seeing the benefits of investing in sustainability.
Not only is ‘going green’ helping to tackle the threat of climate change, it could enhance a company’s reputation, meet regulatory requirements and deliver commercial advantage.
The broker community has a role to play in driving this trend and helping businesses transition successfully to thrive in the low-carbon economy of the future.
With daily headlines about climate change, it's perhaps not surprising that our research found that 45% of Brits say they actively seek out products and services that are environmentally friendly1. The same survey found 59% of consumers will pay more for a green product or service, while 44% say they would boycott a business they considered to be bad for the environment.
With environmental regulation and the government's pledge to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, it's clear the pressure is increasing on companies to pursue sustainable policies like switching to renewable energy sources.
Investing in green measures now could put businesses on the front foot in meeting these challenges and can help them stand out from competitors. Delivering customers’ green expectations and complying with regulation are just some of the drivers of sustainability. Our research shows it might also help recruitment, with 70% of employees saying it’s important their employer is considered to be a green business.1
And, of course, sustainability can have a very real impact on a company's bottom line through cutting energy costs. As a lender, we estimate that around 60% of our ‘green’ financing is aimed at energy savings.
Agriculture is perhaps the sector that's been quickest to embrace sustainability. Many farms produce renewable energy to reduce reliance on the National Grid for their business activities – and sell surplus energy back to it.
We’ve lent approximately £200m to agriculture for renewable energy projects over the past five years, including wind, solar and bio-fuels. The National Farmers Union says between 35-40% of the sector uses renewable energy2.
Take-up of sustainable measures is nowhere near as high in other sectors. Many SMEs, who don't have land on which to put a wind turbine or an anaerobic digester, mistakenly think sustainability is less relevant to them.
In fact, SMEs could make significant savings through relatively small changes to lighting, heating, water and waste management. An amazing array of energy-saving technology products is already out there, but companies often simply aren’t aware of them.
Our research also reveals that SMEs are starting to listen to consumer demands, with 22% actively making changes to reduce their carbon footprint and a further 41% looking to make changes within the next year3. Almost half of SMEs have improved their recycling facilities and 42% have reduced paper usage. Unsurprisingly, the biggest barrier to undertaking green initiatives is cost. If bank funding is available though, the green initiatives SMEs say they’re most keen on are renewable energy and improving recycling facilities.
The green agenda is driving change throughout the supply chain and this is having a big impact on another key industry sector – logistics. In our recently published Logistics Confidence Index survey4, more than two thirds of logistics businesses say they’ll be investing in sustainable, environmental or green projects in the next 12 months.
Just over 40% of survey respondents say their main motive is commercial rationale. For example, upgrading vehicles so they comply with air pollution rules means they can continue to deliver to the Clean Air Zones being introduced in cities around the UK.
This highlights the importance of responding to environmental pressures for all types of companies involved in the supply chain to future-proof their businesses.
To ensure your clients have access to the finance needed to pursue their green goals, we’ve developed a range of green solutions, including green loans and green asset finance.
Clients' plans are assessed against the Barclays Green Product Framework, developed in partnership with Sustainalytics – a leading global provider of environmental research and ratings. This offers customers valuable reassurance on the sustainable credentials of the investments they're making.
But it’s not just about finance – we’re absolutely committed to driving the green agenda forward and to sharing knowledge with brokers about sustainable technologies and the commercial benefits they bring.
So why not start your next conversation with a client by asking them if they've considered the advantages of going green? It could make all the difference in helping them reduce costs, staying ahead of new regulation and winning approval from both customers and employees.
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The views and opinions expressed in this content shouldn’t be taken as statements of policy or intent of Barclays Bank UK PLC. Barclays Bank UK PLC takes no responsibility for the accuracy of information intimated by a third party. Barclays Bank UK PLC takes no liability for the impact of any decisions made based on information contained and views expressed in this presentation or article.
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