Latest News | 5 September 2022

Big rise in firms selling green goods and services

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The proportion of firms in the region selling green goods and services has rocketed, according to new research by East Midlands Chamber and Derby Business School at the University of Derby.

The Green Growth Trends in the East Midlands 2022 study found that over the past seven years the proportion of companies in Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire deriving turnover from supplying environmentally friendly goods trebled from 16% to 45%.

However, the research also found that 35% of businesses are still not engaged with green growth – with reasons cited including gaps in information, skills and access to finance.

Back in 2020, the chamber launched the Sustainable East Midlands initiative to educate firms about the importance of embracing low-carbon business practices in order to cut costs, win new contracts, and recruit and retain the best talent – while also signposting to funding opportunities.

Chris Hobson, the chamber’s director of policy and external affairs, said: “The net zero agenda presents a big challenge to businesses but there is also a raft of opportunities for those eager to tackle it head-on by creating the products and services that will help steer the energy transition.

“Amid the current cost of doing business crisis, a move towards sustainable products and services could unlock the long-term efficiency gains that offset rising prices while creating a sustainable East Midlands economy.

“While it’s great to see more engagement among SMEs, there remains a significant gap between large and small firms, and it’s slightly concerning to see the number of organisations accessing business support has dropped in recent times.

“We need our decision-makers to develop policy mechanisms that are better aligned with regional business interests and specific sector needs in order to intensify engagement, while companies also need financial support to reskill and upskill our existing workforce.

“This will enable us to continue with the great progress we’ve already made in this generation’s most important issue.”

Report lead Dr Polina Baranova, a senior lecturer in strategic management, said: “It’s been positive to see such a positive trajectory in the proportion of firms entering the green goods and services markets, with SMEs becoming more active in green growth.

“Regionally, as the opportunities for green growth are becoming more pronounced, there is a need for a holistic approach to supporting pro-environmental businesses.”

Dr Fred Paterson, university lead for sustainable business and clean growth, said: “This growth is particularly encouraging in the context of the post-Covid economic recovery as it suggests there has been something of a ‘reset’ in how leaders are developing strategies to grow their business.”

The findings of the research will be discussed at the chamber’s forthcoming Sustainability Summit, which will take place at the university’s Enterprise Centre on Thursday 22 September.

To register for the free event, visit

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