Seventy per cent of small and medium enterprises (SME) owners believe that high-energy costs will negatively affect the growth of their businesses, according to a new survey from Tyl by Natwest.
The group questioned 500 UK SME business owners, and discovered that 65 per cent of SMEs are spending up to one fifth of their total business costs on energy consumption.
Its survey also revealed that 30 per cent of UK SMEs spend between £3,000 and £3,999 on annual energy bills, while almost a quarter spend over £4,000 annually.
The results follow spiralling wholesale gas prices amid shortages of global supply, with businesses exposed and unprotected by the consumer price cap.
The crisis has led to 13 UK energy firms ceasing trading since the start of September.
It also comes in the run up to the UK hosting the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, where the government is pushing the G20 nations to unite around a more radical environmental agenda regarding carbon emissions and global temperature increases.
The survey showed that only 50 per cent of SME business owners agreed that they could improve on measures they currently have in place.
The government does offer initiatives to help SMEs implement sustainable energy plans, such as environmental tax reliefs and capital allowances for energy efficient equipment.
However, 37 per cent of small business owners have said they are unaware of the support they’re entitled to from the government.
Approximately three in ten business owners do not have enough information on potential cost-saving measures, while 25 per cent said they were not in a suitable financial position.
Nevertheless, 72 per cent of small business owners are currently adopting energy efficiency measures within the workplace.
Almost a fifth of businesses are saving between £2,000 and £3,000 a year through energy efficient measures, while 35 per cent are saving between £1,000 and £1,999.
Popular sustainability practices among small businesses include using energy efficient LED lightbulbs (40 per cent), turning off production equipment at the end of each working day (38 per cent), and using a smart meter to review energy usage (34 per cent).
Mike Elliff, CEO of Tyl said: ‘It’s clear that SMEs across the UK are finding the cost of energy a barrier to the growth of their business. Improving energy efficiency in the workplace can be the most effective way to reduce these costs, whilst also playing a key role in the UK’s journey to net zero.”