More businesses going green to save money – survey

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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices are becoming increasingly popular among companies as these realise the economic advantages of green measures to save money, new analysis suggests.

A survey by consultancy firm Grant Thornton, composed of more than 2,500 firms, has found that sustainable practices in businesses are being driven by cost management for 67% of respondents.

Other major reasons that push companies to engage with CSR practices are customer demand (64%), brand building (59%), staff recruitment (58%) and tax relief (42%). However, a significant 62% said that green measures were implemented because it was ‘the right thing to do’.

Francesca Lagerberg, global leader for tax services at Grant Thornton, said, “Our research provides compelling evidence that CSR and broader business objectives are becoming more aligned.

“The findings suggest that the benefits of adopting more environmentally and socially sustainable business practices are becoming ever more tangible, for example through tax relief on charitable activity or lower energy bills due to efficiency measures introduced.”

The report also found that most companies surveyed are involved with local charities (68%), work to improve energy efficiency (65%), make changes of products or services to become more sustainable (39%) or calculate their carbon footprint (31%).

Compared to few years ago, the survey found that 31% of businesses now report on sustainability, from 25% in 2011, and 57% now agree that integrated reporting is best practice, against 44% in 2011.

Paul Raleigh, global leader of strategic development and growth Grant Thornton, said in the foreword of the report, “The leadership of dynamic businesses towards more socially responsible and transparent practices is likely to emerge as a competitive edge to unlock their potential for growth in an ever more crowded marketplace.

Photo: 401(K) 2012 via Flickr

Further reading:

Legal & General: corporate social responsibility is about hedging against future risks

Nothing ‘soft and fluffy’ about sustainable business

Report calls for businesses to move from ‘doing less harm’ to having positive impact

Sustainability top priority for quarter of British small businesses

Survey: CEOs see opportunities within sustainability, but not immediate benefits