A majority (82%) of UK SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) consider the growing social and political focus on climate change and other environmental considerations as an opportunity, with over a third (37%) viewing it as a “significant” opportunity. According to research1 commissioned by Cambridge & Counties Bank, only 7% view it as a threat.
Nine in 10 (91%) believe it has become important for SMEs to be more environmentally aware and embed responsible business practices and considerations into their business models, process and services. Two thirds (66%) believe that this is ‘very’ important.
The assets SMEs are most likely to invest in or upgrade in 2021 as a result are cars, vans and similar vehicles. This is followed by products and packaging (47%), plant and machinery (35%), and trucks and similar heavy vehicles (26%).
The research by Cambridge & Counties Bank was commissioned at a time of strong growth in the use of electric vehicles (EVs). Along with the Government’s announcement in 2020 that new cars and vans powered wholly by petrol or diesel will not be allowed to be sold in the UK from 2030,and Benefit in Kind rate relief starting from 1% (2021-22 Tax year) on EVs registered from 6th April 2020 is also expected to boost usage among UK firms.
To support UK businesses and SMEs to transition to EVs, Cambridge & Counties Bank now includes pure electric vehicles as part of its competitive green lending strategy and product suite.
This dedicated campaign, initially rolled out in February 2021, includes deferred VAT payments, no deposit (subject to day one valuation) and deferral of monthly payments for the first three months. Over the past six months, the campaign has resulted in significant new interest, which has led to substantial enquiries in relation to the bank’s PEV product.
The bank’s research found that a majority of SME decisionmakers (94%) believe businesses that use vehicles and wheeled assets have a responsibility to change them to EVs as soon as possible. More than half (53%) believe it is ‘very’ important for their business to work with suppliers, service providers and partners that adhere to, and promote, environmentally responsible focused practices and products.
Simon Hilyer, Senior Business Development Manager at Cambridge & Counties Bank, said
“Our EV campaign, and the resultant new lending growth, has illustrated the strong desire among businesses to seize the opportunities that come with the shift to a more environmentally aware mindset and market sentiment.”
1 Research among 100 senior decisionmakers at UK SMEs conducted by PureProfile between the 7th and 16th December 2020
Simon Hilyer, Senior Business Development Manager
“It will be vital for all businesses to focus not just on their fleets and other company vehicles but all aspects of their operations, including suppliers, to capitalise on their ‘green’ credentials. In June we announced that Cambridge & Counties Bank had been rated Carbon Neutral Plus, which means we offset more carbon than we produce, and along with our dedicated lending products means that the bank should be seen as a credible lender for UK businesses.”