Goverment Must Help Us Go Green, Say UK Entrepreneurs

UK owner managers are calling for stronger government incentives to encourage green behaviour.

New research by entrepreneur think tank, the Tenon Forum, reveals that almost half (48 per cent) of UK owner managers think the government isn’t doing enough to support their efforts to implement environmentally friendly policies in the workplace, with entrepreneurs citing tax credits as one of the most effective ways for the Chancellor to motivate green behaviour.

Most of the nation’s small businesses, however, are embracing environmental practices in the workplace. The Tenon Forum findings show that three quarters of SMEs recycle paper, eight in ten (81 per cent) entrepreneurs encourage staff to turn off equipment when not in use, and a quarter (24 per cent) promote car sharing and public transport to their employees. Nearly one in ten (9 per cent) small businesses have also measured their carbon footprint.

When it comes to decreasing their carbon footprint, business and finance and retail sectors are leading the way through recycling in the workplace, while the transportation and communication sectors are encouraging staff to turn off computers and printers when not in use.

Andy Raynor, Chief Executive Officer of Tenon, said:

"UK entrepreneurs are sending out a clear message to government. While most support implementing policies that reduce their environmental impact, they also cannot do so alone. SMEs need government to motivate and reward best environmental practices with tax credits so that green behaviour also makes a genuine difference to their bottom line."

Here at EveryThingsGoneGreen we applaud any green moves by business and agree that government incentives may well help toward this goal. But to rely on government 'handouts' to enable green motivation is being lazy. We think that entrepreneurs should have enough get-up-and-go to be able to achieve green business ideals without the 'green carrot' being dangled in front of UK business.

Over at they report that Paul Allen, author of  Your Ethical Business: How to Plan, Start and Succeed in a Company with a Conscience, says:

“Do we really need government to give us an incentive when the incentives should already be there?†Allen told “One is the much wider picture of climate change and the other is the huge move towards ethical consumerism.

“People increasingly want to do business with companies that take their environmental impact and their carbon footprint very seriously.â€

They also spoke with Dale Vince, the head of Ecotricity, who responded that he thought the claim was a "bit lame" adding:

“It makes you wonder, where’s the creative and dynamic flair that creates new opportunities and value? I think it’s probably that, for a lot of these guys, the environment is low down on their list of priorities, and blaming government is just a cover story for inadequacy.â€

We tend to agree.