Finance directors increasingly regard green issues as important to their organisation, but many lack information on how best to limit their firms' environmental impact and are unimpressed by the government's efforts to encourage more sustainable business models.
That is the finding of a recent survey from GBN's sister magazine Financial Director, which revealed environmental issues are taking a central role in many firms finance departments.
The survey of over 100 finance directors found that almost 85 percent regard environmental issues as either quite important or very important to their business, with those at large companies with sales of over £100m the most likely to consider the environment important.
Encouragingly for other executives requesting budget from their finance department for environmental projects, almost two thirds of finance directors claim that environmental considerations play a role in their company's decisions right from the outset of a project. This dropped to just over a third for smaller firms, but only 12 percent claimed that environmental factors had no role to play in decision making.
However, the government was widely criticised for failing to provide enough guidance or support in the transition towards greener business models. Almost 85 percent of respondents said they did not believe revenue raised from so-called green taxes would be re-directed into environmental projects, while just one percent said that government incentives had encouraged them to engage in activities aimed at combating climate change.
The government also came under fire for failing to make current incentives accessible, with one respondent claiming that getting the climate change rebate was like "getting blood from a stone". Meanwhile, opinion on green taxes was divided with some arguing they would diminish UK competitiveness without a global scheme and others claiming the government is not going far enough.
As one respondent told Financial Director: "If it is the most important issue facing humanity, why does the prime minister say it won't do anything to damage business. We appreciate that some of the measures may be initially unpopular, but what is the government doing to take the electorate on a journey to the right decisions?"
But overall the survey revealed a positive attitude towards green business models from the nation's finance departments with the bulk of finance directors sold on the bottom line and brand benefits of moving to tackle climate change. And if those holding the purse strings are increasingly in favour of green business projects that has to be good news for the rest of the business.
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