Firms keen to invest in sustainability

13th February 2012

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Spending by large UK firms on energy, environment and sustainability initiatives will grow at an average of 16% a year between now and 2015, according to analysts Verdantix

The predicted growth in sustainable business spending in 2012 will be 12%, which is 20 times faster than the forecast growth of the UK economy, at 0.6%. The study finds that such spending by 421 UK firms, with revenues greater than £1 billion, will grow from £4.3 billion in 2012 to £6.8 billion in 2015.

“The UK’s sustainable business market is continuing to grow at a healthy rate because firms have aligned sustainability strategies with operational efficiency.

"Energy cost savings and more efficient use of natural resources now underpin sustainability investments – not philanthropic commitments to fight climate change,” commented Susan Clarke, Verdantix analyst and author of the report.

It concludes that some initiatives will experience significant growth over the next four years, while others will barely keep pace with inflation. Areas of spending expected to grow significantly up to 2015 include smart meters (23%), electric vehicles (22%), on-site renewable energy (22%) and product stewardship (21%).

Areas forecast to experience slower growth rates include spending on social responsibility (5%), and environment, health and safety (6%). Taken as a whole, strategic energy management will be the largest area of spend in sustainable business budgets, finds the study.

Despite the buoyant predictions in some areas, Verdantix warns that a further economic contraction in the UK could see some planned investments culled.

“If the UK economy falls back into recession in 2012, spending on capital-intensive initiatives will be delayed or cancelled,” commented Rodolphe d’Arjuzon, Verdantix’s global head of research.

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