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24 December 2018

WWF Scotland


Press Release


Embargoed until: 00.01 Monday 24 December 2018




+  Smaller companies in Scotland nearly twice as likely to feel under-prepared for dealing with the impacts of climate change, compared to bigger businesses


+  Only 1 in 6 smaller firms feel their sector has direction from Scottish Government about their role in tackling climate change


Smaller businesses in Scotland feel less prepared and supported to cope with the impacts of our changing climate than larger firms, according to figures out today (Monday 24 Dec).  [1]


The survey of 300 businesses, commissioned by WWF Scotland, shows that only 2 in 5 of Scotland’s smaller firms feel prepared for risks posed by climate change.


That’s in stark contrast to larger businesses, with over three-quarters stating they are either fully or partly prepared.  Further, only 15% of SMEs reported feeling their business sector has clear direction from the Scottish Government on how it can best contribute to tackling climate change.


The poll further found that less than a quarter of SMEs are aware of risks that climate change could pose to their business, and that larger businesses are nearly four times more likely to be aware that climate change poses a risk to their business.


Responding to the findings Gina Hanrahan, head of policy at WWF Scotland said:


“These findings should ring a warning bell for our political and business leaders that many of the smaller companies that form the backbone of Scotland’s economy are ill prepared for the very real effects of climate change.


“Climate change poses many chronic and severe risks to our economic stability and our social fabric. But the actions we need to tackle climate change, like building warmer homes, developing new modes of transport and modernising how we grow our food, will also present huge innovation and economic opportunities for forward-thinking businesses in Scotland. 


“But it is clear from this polling, that Scotland’s SMEs need more support and advice if they are to make the most of those opportunities and ensure their businesses have sustainable futures.”


Garth Gulland, owner of Roots, Fruits and Flowers, a Glasgow fruit and veg merchant that has been serving the public and the restaurant trade since 1979 said:


“My business relies on providing good quality, seasonal produce to my customers. This year proved to be challenging, with the very dry summer meaning many of our UK-grown fruit and vegetables were affected.  The UK isn’t used to such hot, prolonged spells of weather and therefore growers aren’t as prepared to deal with it, resulting in many soft fruits and salad crops being ruined.  The cost of some staples, like potatoes, doubled during the year.  Businesses like mine need more support to prepare for the consequences of our changing climate, and more support to reduce our own impacts on the environment would be very welcome too.”


Anna Christopherson, owner of Hemma, Victoria’s and Joseph Pearce bars and restaurants across Edinburgh, said:


“No entrepreneur starts a business solely for the money, they do it for the passion, and our passion is running a great business with a strong green policy. We do this because we care about the environment, but also because it’s simply good business sense. We focus on many areas, one crucial one is reducing our food waste by educating not only our chefs but our customers. We also installed completely new lighting to be more energy efficient, saving a lot of money for the business. And we know that customers who are environmentally conscious pick our bars rather than other places because we take environmentally conscious business decisions. The more support there can be for other businesses to do this, the better.”


Notes to Editors


[1] The survey of 300 Scottish businesses was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of WWF Scotland in October 2018, the sample included 150 businesses with over 250 employees and 150 SME businesses.



Q1. Does climate change pose a risk to your business?



Companies with 250 plus employee







Don’t know





Q2. To what extent, do you feel your organisation is prepared to deal with the risks posed by climate change?



Companies with 250 plus employee

fully prepared /somewhat prepared



not fully prepared / not prepared at all





Q3. To what extent, do you agree or disagree with the following statement: ‘I feel my business sector has clear direction from the Scottish Government on its contribution to tackling climate change.’



Companies with 250 plus employee

has clear direction



does not have clear direction





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