UK firms clueless on the environment

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The Independent Online

More than half of British businesses do not have an environmental policy in place, according to new research - while a fifth do not even know what such a scheme would involve.

The findings are part of a wider survey carried out on behalf of software group Sage for its annual "Heartbeat" study, due out later this week.

It is the first time the FTSE 100 company has included questions about the environment in the survey, which is intended to provide a snapshot of business life in the UK.

It found that 56 per cent of the companies questioned did not have a green policy in place; 49 per cent did not believe that protecting the environment would affect their business; and 20 per cent did not know what an environmental policy was.

Jo Ray, the managing director for Sage's small business division, said an environmental policy was "about knowing how your company is affecting the environment - waste management, use of technology, energy use, that sort of thing".

She conceded that 56 per cent was a high proportion. However, pointing to the number of companies in the dark about green policies, she said: "This is all about making sure that business has access to information and guidance. It's about educating them.

"Consumers are taking an interest now and starting to think about who they are buying from and what their attitudes are. So it is important for the economy."

The survey also found that a majority, 63 per cent, felt the Government should be doing more to ensure British businesses are environmentally friendly.

Conducted by YouGov on behalf of Sage, the survey was based on responses from 3,700 senior executives. The sizes of the companies would have varied enormously, from one-man operations to businesses with more than 500 staff, Ms Ray said.