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20% decline in business sustainability confidence

A 20% decline in the confidence of businesses to implement and manage environmental, sustainability and corporate social responsibility policies has been reported by the British Institute for Facilities Management (BIFM).

In a survey of 300 respondents, only 40% said their organisation was ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ at implementing sustainability, down from 60% last year and 43% in 2013.

Barriers to fulfilling sustainable practices are said to have increased, with 80% of respondents highlighting physical issues, 71% naming financial constraints and 69% blaming a lack of organisational engagement.

The survey, produced in collaboration with Cambium and Acclaro Advisory, also found that more than a third of respondents had no formal reporting system or data collection process for measuring effectiveness of sustainability outputs.

BIFM chief executive Gareth Tancred said: “Despite increased pressure on businesses to be more sustainable, we are seeing a decline in their ability to do so. In nine years of conducting this survey, 2015 has seen the biggest year-on-year decrease recorded. Historically, sustainability has been dominated by a tick-box mentality by business which is undermining the long-term value of sustainability investment.

“While it is encouraging to see so many organisations regarding sustainability as an important part of their corporate agenda, they must adopt more formal processes to monitor and measure progress and avoid a short-termist view of sustainable business practice.”

He called for more collaborative working with policies integrated into other sustainable issues, such as the living wage.

“The risk of not doing so is that organisations are accused of only paying lip-service to sustainability.”

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