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Research shows business sustainability targets are hindered by lack of funding

Duo commissioned a research study involving over 500 companies to reveal attitudes to adopting a more sustainable business model. The results showed that attitudes to adopting a more sustainable business model differ massively, and availability of funds coupled with a low internal commitment are the main barriers for companies not achieving environmental targets.

Of the 500 companies surveyed, only 14% of had appointed a dedicated person and/or department to oversee business-critical environmental targets, whilst the majority task heads of departments to set their internal environmental targets (30%).

Duo carried out the survey after feedback from their customers, including the likes of, JD Williams, Tesco F&F and Keep Britain Tidy, that there was confusion over which 'environmental claims' companies should trust when it comes to new innovative packaging products and which new products are effective in helping them achieve specific targets.

Unsurprisingly, Government legislation is the main driver for more than a third of UK companies making changes to adopt environmentally friendly alternatives, however the results also showed that, encouragingly, brand belief is the second most important factor in adopting sustainable measures. Environmental targets are a hot topic in businesses with 40% of respondents stating they discuss environmental targets quarterly.

Duo's Managing Director David Brimelow commented on the findings: "We've been aware for some time that our customers are confused about what credible sustainable packaging options are available to them, and which actually deliver the results they claim to.

"Reducing energy consumption, followed closely by increasing re-use and recyclability and sustainability were noted as top of the agenda for most businesses. But faced with a myriad of different solutions and new packaging technologies being developed all the time - it can be difficult for UK businesses to understand what are the most effective process changes and new products to adopt.

"We've found the easiest changes to adopt by a company's workforce and/or customers have proved to deliver the biggest impact on UK businesses and helped them to meeting their environmental targets. From switching their fossil based polythene to GreenPE, a 100% sustainable material exclusive to Duo, to segregating their packaging waste on site and recycling in a closed loop system, or the inclusion of a double glue strip to a mailing bag so customers can use the same bag for returns."

For nearly half of UK businesses surveyed, availability of cash to invest in more sustainable solutions is the main barrier not achieving their environmental targets and nearly a quarter said that low internal commitment was the main reason for poor environmental engagement.

Dr Paul Dewick, Lecturer at Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, agreed that the findings of Duo's survey reflect the reality that shifting toward a sustainable business model is not easy for companies. "Adopting a sustainable business model can begin with targets", he added, "but requires also the knowledge and know-how, incentives and commitment to support the change process".  

David added: "The purchase of packaging used to solely be down to the commodity purchasing manager, but recently we've noticed a huge change and now more departments have influence over this decision. We now regularly meeting with stakeholders from marketing, to CSR and operations.

"We see this as a positive change as businesses adopt and embed a more sustainable business model and more parties are involved with the decision making process meaning internal backing is achieved."

 

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Published: 10/11/2015

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