Survey shows what barriers are slowing businesses down on their journey to Net Zero

Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership (Bucks LEP) and Buckinghamshire Business First latest Buckinghamshire Business Barometer survey shows the first quarter of 2022 brought improved trading conditions and performance for many Bucks businesses, despite rising costs as a result of on-going disruption to supply chains, reduced labour availability and inflationary pressures.

The Buckinghamshire Business Barometer survey also focused on the barriers facing businesses in their drive to Net Zero. The Barometer asked businesses about the challenges they faced on their journey to Net Zero, which also forms a key part of a green economy audit Bucks LEP has commissioned to understand how businesses in Buckinghamshire are reducing their carbon emissions, and to identify opportunities for net zero growth.

The survey results show a significant majority (92%) of respondents had implemented at least one action to reduce their carbon emissions. Almost half implemented four or more measures and encouragingly 79% intend to take action in the next 12 months.

However, a number of barriers were identified that are preventing respondents from taking action, largely focussing on the costs of implementing change, and less so the availability of expertise. Despite this, 45% of respondents believed that a reason for taking action was due to money saved from costs overall.

James Moorhouse, Economic & Labour Market Analyst at Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The survey answers help us to gain valuable insights into the local economy which we feed into our conversations with Government and other stakeholders. In addition, the answers and experiences also form part of our green economy audit to identify opportunities for Net Zero growth.”

“Help is at hand for businesses that are reducing or want to reduce their carbon emissions,” explains Philippa Batting, Managing Director, Buckinghamshire Business First. “For more than a decade, Buckinghamshire Business First has taken a lead role in influencing, educating, and supporting local businesses to make practical changes to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency.”

Philippa added: “The Business Barometer results help us ensure effective support is in place to tackle the challenge head-on over the next critical decade.”

The Barometer also asked Buckinghamshire businesses what their plans are for the next three months, with responses given an improvement on the previous quarter particularly for investment and increasing headcount.

Just over a third (34%) of respondents plan to raise finance over the next three months, up from 17% of respondents in the previous quarter. Encouragingly, just over three quarters (76%) of firms report that they plan to invest in marketing/advertising during the next quarter, and more than half plan to invest in training and development (65%), and in digital technologies (58%). Furthermore, more than half (53%) also intend to increase their headcount and only 3% plan to decrease their headcount.

As with each Business Barometer survey, the aim is to know how businesses have fared in the last few months in order to help build a picture of the needs and opportunities that exist in the Buckinghamshire business community. Full findings from the Barometer survey for the first quarter of 2022 can be found on the Buckinghamshire Economic Intelligence Observatory.