HRH The Prince of Wales has announced the establishment of a groundbreaking initiative designed to explore the challenges small businesses are facing around requests for proof of environmental and social credentials as part of the procurement process.
The Supplier Support & Information Initiative will be led by the University of Cambridge Programme for Industry and Business in the Community.
The overall aim is to see how to optimise both higher sustainability standards and improve the competitiveness and profitability of smaller firms that are supplying larger organisations in the public and private sectors. The initiative will involve the formation of a working group made up of some of the UK’s largest corporates and will be chaired by Lloyds TSB. The group will work closely with the Small Business Consortium.
The Prince announced the initiative whilst addressing delegates at The Prince’s May Day Business Summit on Climate Change.
According to Vanson Bourne research conducted for BT Business, one in ten small businesses claim that they are already asked about their green credentials by customers during the procurement process.
However, small businesses are not treating sustainable procurement as an important issue with only one per cent of small businesses considering the green credentials of a supplier when they procure goods and services.
Paul Turner, Head of Sustainable Development, Lloyds TSB, said: “As a result of increasing regulation, consumer concerns about the environmental and social footprint of products and services, there is a clear case for large corporations to work together in helping their suppliers provide the information they need to respond to these demands.”
David Grayson, chairman of the Small Business Consortium, said “It is really important that small businesses themselves have the opportunity to identify what help is needed and how it could be most effectively provided, to make it as easy as possible for smaller firms to meet more stringent environmental and social standards now being set by many larger organisations.”
Bill Murphy, managing director, BT Business, said: “BT Business is committed to championing small businesses. This initiative will arm this vital community with the practical tools and strategic advice they need to compete, regardless of size.”
Notes to editors
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The Vanson Bourne research was conducted on behalf of BT Business online with owner/managers and senior decision makers in small organisations (up to 50 employees) across the UK.