Small firms petty

Published: Saturday 31 July 2004

Environment UK Firms

Small firms in the uk pay scant attention to saving energy and minimising waste, and they are unlikely to take any voluntary action to improve their environmental practices. That's the finding of researchers at Kingston University, London, who presented their research on June 23 in London.

Most owners of small and medium enterprises (smes) do not accept the government line that going green is good for business, says Andrea Revell, who conducted the research with Professor Robert Blackburn at the university's Small Business Research Centre.

smes make up 99 per cent of all enterprises in the uk, and are estimated to be responsible for 60 per cent of industry's carbon dioxide emissions.

The research findings are based on interviews with 40 owner-managers of small businesses in the construction and restaurant sectors in London and Leeds. The researchers also talked with twelve informants within industry, the uk government and academia.

One architect said that his clients were simply not interested in sustainable design or construction. A restaurant owner said disposing of waste in an environment-friendly manner doesn't win customers.

The study concludes that regulation may be the only way to truly bring change within the sme sector.

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