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04 Jan 2023 / Market Research

Sustainability remains high on the agenda for businesses in 2023

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New data from Time Finance has shown that half of UK SMEs are anticipated to invest in sustainability in 2023 as pressure mounts for businesses to cut their carbon emissions in-line with the Government’s 2050 Net Zero targets.

Exploring the financial support businesses will need to achieve their sustainability ambitions, the survey found that 50% said that businesses will invest more time and money into a greener strategy following COP27 and its stark reminders of the fight against climate change.

Time Finance is sharing its data ahead of the anticipated announcement from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) detailing the outcomes of its Net Zero Review, the results of which are expected to give businesses clearer direction on their path to Net Zero.

Ed Rimmer, CEO at Time Finance, said: “The role of alternative finance is to understand and facilitate the growth ambitions of businesses, to work with them to ensure they have access to the most beneficial forms of finance to enable investment. We can clearly see that businesses have a strong commitment to the sustainability agenda, made all the more pressing following COP27. What we need to do now is ensure that businesses have access to the finance they need to bring these plans to life.”

Despite the widespread ambition amongst businesses to improve sustainability, Time Finance’s survey also found that more than 40% of those surveyed believe affordability will be a barrier to green investment.

Ed continued: “Our recent survey shows us that our customers are as committed, if not more so, to their sustainability strategies than ever, but their commitment is not without concern and caution. We conducted a similar survey 12 months ago to understand how COP26 had influenced businesses’ feelings towards the climate change agenda. What we found was that commitment was strong but a 67% majority didn’t think there was sufficient Government support to help small businesses adopt greener technologies or business practices. Skip forward a year and affordability is still the number one barrier for businesses to become more sustainable.

“Businesses that are tuned in to the UK’s net zero ambitions will be waiting to hear from BEIS on the results of their recent Net Zero Review. The Government is still very much committed to its 2050 Net Zero target but businesses need to see the substance behind the promise that this will be achieved in a ‘pro-business’ and ‘pro-growth’ manner.

“As providers of alternative finance solutions, it is vitally important to our work to understand what businesses need. Unlocking working capital enables all manner of investments and knowing the areas of focus for businesses in 2023 enables us to respond in ways they need, allowing them to achieve their growth ambitions but doing so while juggling such priorities as sustainability.”

Time Finance supports more than 10,000 UK businesses every year with flexible and supportive funding solutions. The alternative finance provider specialises in the provision of funding solutions to UK businesses seeking to access the finance they need to realise their growth plans, with a diverse portfolio that includes Asset Finance, Invoice Finance, Business Loans, and its recently established Asset Based Lending product.