Provisional analysis of data collated by the East Midlands Chamber has shown a marked increase in the percentage of regional companies deriving benefit from the low carbon environmental goods and services sector.
The Sustainable Business and Green Economy Research Cluster at the University of Derby compared the results of Quarterly Economic Surveys carried out by the Chamber in 2015 and 2017.
The analysis focused on the survey questions that addressed companies’ awareness and engagement with resource efficiency and the degree to which they supply and benefit from low carbon and environmental goods and services (LCEGS).
It found that that in 2017 nearly a quarter (24%) of firms taking part in the survey derived some degree of turnover from LCEGS compared with 16% in 2015. The number of firms generating 20% or more of their turnover from LCEGS increased by half from eight per cent to 12% when comparing the same two years.
According to the studied data, micro and small businesses showed the greatest growth in sector activity when comparing 2015 and 2017. Both these categories showed a significant increase in the number of businesses generating a proportion of their turnover from LCEGS (8.8% and 9.1% respectively).
However, slightly more medium-sized businesses in 2017 said they derived no turnover from LCEGS (81.4%) compared with 2015 (79.7%).
On average, in 2017 manufacturing sector companies generated more annual turnover from LCEGS than companies operating in the services sector. This was a 20% improvement on 2015 figures, which indicate that over the two years more and more regional businesses in the manufacturing sectors successfully supply LCEGS.
When considering regional supply chains, the businesses surveyed indicated that competitiveness was most strongly impacted by the following factors: employing local people, having a policy on ethical practices, using local suppliers and becoming more energy efficient.
However, while businesses in the region also recognised the importance of having policies on Modern Slavery and introducing renewable technologies and processes, they were more ambivalent about environmental accreditation and proving that their products are from sustainable sources.
Chris Hobson, Director of Policy at East Midlands Chamber, said: “The analysis carried out by the University of Derby clearly shows growing interest in the low carbon environmental goods and services sector, which supports what our members tell us. It all comes down to what we’ve called the triple bottom line – profit, people and planet.
“Nowadays, it’s not enough for companies to simply show they are profitable, if they want to recruit and retain the right people they also have to be able to prove that they have the best interests of the planet at the heart of what they do.
“This is a growing sector in the business community and one that is going to prove more and more important as we drive technological innovation here in the East Midlands.”