How SMEs can benefit from the green recovery

Despite the challenges still existing in the economy, SMEs are already showing there’s a path to success by responding quickly and flexibly. Our report looks at the impact of the green economic recovery and how businesses can benefit from it.

Running a small business can be an exhilarating experience. Whether it’s taking charge of your own destiny, nurturing your own ideas or sharing in the fruits of your hard work, managing your own firm is often exciting and rewarding.

It can also be hugely stressful: after all, no reward comes without risk. There’s economic uncertainty, worries about cashflow or being able to pay the bills. Will your business thrive as the economy – and your customers’ demands – evolve?

Covid-19 has heaped a greater burden on top. The UK has tumbled into recession and, in many ways, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have found themselves enduring the worst of the economic impact of the pandemic.

Nevertheless, the crisis is also demonstrating there are opportunities for those who can seize them. Even as the first signs of a recovery emerge from the depths of the downturn, SMEs are already showing there’s a path to success by responding quickly and flexibly, both to the evolving economic environment and changing consumer habits. 

"We believe one of the greatest opportunities lies in responding to the growing focus from the public and from politicians on ensuring the rebound from the Covid-19 crisis is as sustainable as possible."

Calls for a more environmentally-conscious economic policy – and for businesses to play their part in it – are hardly new. However, the virus has injected new impetus towards actions which boost the economy and create jobs while also contributing to a better environment. These could be, for instance, encouraging businesses to invest in environmentally friendly products and processes, supporting low-carbon industries or championing the growth of green energy.

Consumers too are putting an increased focus on backing businesses that are becoming as sustainable as possible. But just how is an SME to make the most of the opportunities?

This report looks at the impact of the green economic recovery and how businesses can benefit from it. We’ve surveyed 800 small business owners to find out both how they view the current outlook and what steps they’re already taking towards greater sustainability. We’ve also asked 2,000 consumers about the importance they place on a greater commitment to the environment and what they think of businesses that can show they are playing their part. Most importantly, the report offers clear, actionable ideas for how SMEs can meet the challenge.

For our part, we at E.ON are committed to working with our SME customers as they move towards a more sustainable future. We provide 100% renewable electricity at no extra cost to all small businesses when they join or renew with us. And as we’ll see, from cutting out plastic and going paperless to installing LED lighting, solar and battery solutions and electric vehicle charging, there are many ways in which SMEs can support the green economic recovery – and cutting down on carbon emissions is one of the most effective steps they can take.

It has never been a more challenging time to be an SME. What we can say for certain, however, is that the world that emerges will be on an even faster trajectory to a more sustainable future.

Find out more about the green recovery plan and read our report.

Written by Michael Lewis

Michael joined E.ON UK as CEO in 2017, having worked in the energy industry for over 25 years. He joined Powergen in 1993, originally working in technical and environmental roles, before moving into corporate strategy and development. Following E.ON’s acquisition of Powergen in 2002, he moved to E.ON’s headquarters in Düsseldorf as Vice President Corporate Development. In 2007, Michael was appointed Managing Director for Europe on the Board of E.ON Climate and Renewables, before becoming Chief Operating Officer in 2012 and then CEO of E.ON Climate and Renewables in 2015. Michael is a Chartered Engineer (CEng) and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (FIMechE).