New research reveals that a third (31%) of London SMEs believe the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will have a positive impact. But with just six months to go, half (50%) have not taken any steps to prepare their businesses for when the new, stricter emissions standards are introduced in April 2019.
Collaborate UK 2018, CitySprint’s sixth annual survey of over 1,000 (500 in London specifically) SME decision makers found that 58% of businesses in London think the importance of sustainable and eco-friendly practices will increase in the next year. However, 45% don’t think there is enough Government funding to support green projects like the introduction of electric vehicles, and 40% don’t think there is enough infrastructure like charging points and cycle parking.
For those businesses who are taking steps to meet the ULEZ standards, over a quarter (28%) already use logistics or courier companies who are using environmentally friendly fleets, and nearly a third (31%) have targets in place to help increase sustainability in their supply chain.
From 25 October 2021, the ULEZ area will be expanded to include the inner London area bounded by the North and South Circular Roads. This is supported by London SMEs, with 59% in support the expansion of ULEZ.
Patrick Gallagher, CitySprint Group CEO, commented: “There’s no doubt that the introduction of ULEZ next April will have a significant impact, and it’s important that businesses in London consider the implications and take steps to prepare. While we welcome recent government announcements such as the Road to Zero strategy, nearly half of London SMEs believe the government isn’t doing enough. Currently, eco-friendly charging and fueling stations are few and far between in the Capital, with just five stations for refuelling hydrogen vans, and few high-street garages properly equipped to repair them.”
Despite the potential impact of ULEZ on day-to-day operations, two-thirds (60%) of SMEs in London feel more confident about the future of their business compared to 12 months ago – compared to 51% across the whole of the UK. Investment in sustainable practices is also higher in London (52%) than the rest of the UK (47%). The top reason for SMEs in London wanting to be more sustainable is because they want to make the world a better place (38%).
The top sustainability priorities for businesses in London are reducing and recycling waste (52%), using sustainable or eco-friendly office supplies (46%), and using sustainable materials for products (38%). In addition, 39% of London SMEs regularly review their suppliers to ensure they are sustainable.
Patrick Gallagher, CitySprint Group CEO, commented on the findings: “As the largest same day courier company, we have taken steps to operate more sustainability since long before the announcement of ULEZ, and we’re committed to having an ultra-low emission fleet in central London by 2020. While it’s important for businesses to review things like their supply chain, steps towards a more sustainable future can also be made elsewhere, and businesses should take a more critical look at their overall operations in order to reach their sustainability goals sooner.”