Small businesses unprepared to cope with climate change, study finds

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 24 December 2018 in News

Survey finds that just 39 per cent of smaller businesses feel they are either fully or partly prepared for the effects of rising global temperatures

Edinburgh in snow - image credit: Liam Kirkaldy

Small businesses in Scotland feel unprepared to cope with the effect of climate change, according to a new survey by WWF Scotland.

The survey, covering 300 businesses, found that although just over three-quarters of larger businesses feel they are either fully or partly prepared for the effects of rising global temperatures, among smaller businesses the figure dropped to just 39 per cent.

Meanwhile only 15 per cent of smaller businesses agreed that they had received clear direction from the Scottish Government on how they can help mitigate climate change, compared to 49 per cent which did not.

But among companies with more than 250 employees, WWF Scotland found that 66 per cent felt they had received clear direction from government.

Meanwhile the poll found that less than a quarter of SMEs are aware of the risks posed by climate change, with larger ones nearly four times more likely to be aware how it could impact on their business.

Gina Hanrahan, head of policy at WWF Scotland, said: “These findings should ring a warning bell for our political and business leaders that many of the smaller companies that form the backbone of Scotland’s economy are ill prepared for the very real effects of climate change.

“Climate change poses many chronic and severe risks to our economic stability and our social fabric. But the actions we need to tackle climate change, like building warmer homes, developing new modes of transport and modernising how we grow our food, will also present huge innovation and economic opportunities for forward-thinking businesses in Scotland. 

“But it is clear from this polling, that Scotland’s SMEs need more support and advice if they are to make the most of those opportunities and ensure their businesses have sustainable futures.”

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