More than 80% of mid-sized UK businesses have taken action on environmental sustainability, according to a survey by Barclays Bank.

Three quarters said they experienced at least one commercial benefit from taking environmentally-responsible actions because consumers are demanding “green” credentials.

Investment in sustainability reduced operational costs for 37% of the companies.

But a lack of funds and concerns about returns on their investments were stopping other businesses from taking the plunge, with tax breaks or subsidies cited as possible remedies for overcoming reluctance.

‘Left behind’

Tony Walsh, Head of Mid-Corporates, Barclays Corporate Banking, said: “It’s a mixed picture, with most mid-sized companies taking some steps to invest in green activity, but with much more still to do.

“We found that there are clear commercial and reputational benefits if businesses do more in this area, as well as growing regulatory demands to increase green investment.

“If you’re a business leader and the risks and opportunities around the green agenda are not being discussed in your boardroom, you might miss out on the commercial advantages that are available and suffer reputationally and could be left behind.”

> Download Barclays’ report