To further reinforce the small business denial / avoidance of environmental management here is further evidence. This time legislation and taxes are surveyed as incentives to improve impact:
“Small businesses are divided over how effective green taxes are at promoting good environmental practices, a new survey has revealed.
The study, ‘Business and the Environment’, was carried out on behalf of the UK200Group by Middlesex University.
Almost a half of respondents (45 per cent) said that they agreed or strongly agreed that green taxes are a good way of encouraging businesses to adopt policies protective of the environment.
A similar split occurred on the issue of environmental regulation. Some 53 per cent agreed or strongly agreed with creating additional legislation to improve the environment, while 42 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed.
Many firms, however, only have a broad idea of the existing environmental legislation as it applies to their business operations. While about half could recall the general thrust of environmental laws, only 45 per cent could name the relevant regulations.
Acting on their environmental concerns also appeared problematic for many firms.
The priority given to staff training (51 per cent) and to health and safety (46 per cent) outweighed reducing energy costs (a priority for 28 per cent of the firms polled) and cutting waste (21 per cent).
Asked whether they had green policies in place setting out their environmental aims and procedures, almost six out of ten (58 per cent) reported that they did not.”
Ok, hitting peoples wallets, or company finances is one way to reduce environmental impact, and yes, the other half will always shout vociferously about additional red tape and administrative burden, but any successful approach has to be carrot AND stick.
For me the heart of the problem lies in the question. If you ask an entrepreneur about the risks of environmental legislation you can guarantee a defensive response. The question (and therefore prompt) should be about environmental opportunities, i.e. how can your business tap into emerging green markets, can your product be a example of low carbon good practice, how can you exploit your environmental credentials to improve your brand position, etc.?
As I said in the initial post, entrepreneurs are by their nature immensely creative types, so why isn’t more effort centred on using this wealth of talent? Yet another example of the clash of cultures between private and public sectors.