16% of businesses in the UK still do nothing from a corporate responsibility perspective
A study of UK businesses has revealed that environmental and corporate responsibility is their number one investment priority over the coming year.
The survey, by Grant Thornton, of 200 medium and large businesses across the UK found that the majority (40%) were most likely to invest in areas related to the environment and corporate responsibility in the coming year in comparison to any other area.
Second equal in priority over the next 12 months was investment in training and development, and regulation (26%), followed by 9% of companies who plan on investing in infrastructure and premises.
In addition, of those business leaders questioned, an overwhelming 99% rated environmental and corporate responsibility issues as either important or very important in comparison to other issues on their business agenda.
Alysoun Stewart, head of Grant Thornton's strategic services group, said: "In today's business market, environmental and corporate responsibility related activities are ceasing to be seen as pioneering and instead as something that should be ingrained in business purpose and strategy."
“In today's business market, environmental and corporate responsibility related activities are ceasing to be seen as pioneering and instead as something that should be ingrained in business purpose and strategy.
Alysoun Stewart, head of Grant Thornton's strategic services group
She added: “For many UK businesses there is a perception that investment in environmental and corporate responsibility initiatives requires a substantial outlay - however, this is not the case. Implementing such policies is not about expensive campaigns. It's about looking closely at the economic, social and environmental impacts your business may have, maximising the benefits, minimising any negative effects and taking a responsible approach to some simple principles.”
The study revealed simple measures, centred largely around conserving resources, were fast becoming embedded in corporate culture, with 81% of companies now recycling and 64% conserving paper. Energy conservation was also widely adopted; 67% of companies turn off computers rather than leaving them on standby and 63% use either low energy light bulbs or simply turn off excess lights. Almost 90% were turning heating either down (39%) or off (49%) when not in the building.
Advocating alternative forms of transport to discourage private vehicle use and using renewable forms of energy remain lower down the list of priorities and just 21% of UK businesses had either installed, or were planning to install, solar panels, while 16% were committed to wind turbines.
British businesses also make significant investments in corporate responsibility initiatives, with 47% involved in charity fundraising days, 43% sponsoring local community initiatives and a further 37% holding special charity days.
However, 16% of businesses in the UK still do nothing from a corporate responsibility perspective.