Two in three firms using environmental management systems (EMS) increased sales, or expected to do so, according to a government survey.
Defra said its survey of 31 small and medium sized enterprises showed significant financial benefits to businesses of developing an accredited EMS.
Such systems allow companies to assess their environmental impact and use resources more efficiently. EMS targets identified in the survey included waste to landfill, energy use, fuel use for business travel, business travel distance, water use and raw material use.
Certified EMSs delivered an average annual saving over two years of £4,875 per £1m turnover. At the same time, 28 SMEs made an average cumulative saving in carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) of 38.9 tonnes per £m turnover.
Commercial and marketing opportunities were found to be the biggest motivations for developing the systems, while almost all that did so received enquiries from their customers about it.
Environment minister Richard Benyon said: “All businesses should be planning green and growth together - thinking strategically about environmental management leads to more sales, bigger profits and a more attractive business to clients and investors.
“It’s one of Defra’s top priorities to build a strong and sustainable green economy that is resilient to climate change. With business, we are working to green and grow our entire economy, protecting our environment and creating new investment, technologies and opportunities for trade.”