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Press Release

Mid-market businesses eager to embrace sustainability but struggle to overcome barriers to progression

LONDON: More than six out of 10 mid-market businesses (62%) now believe that sustainability is just as important or more important than financial success according to figures from Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR).

Environmental, social and governance credentials are seen as a competitive advantage for much of the mid-market – reflecting the expectations of their client bases. Among those businesses that are placing a greater emphasis on sustainability, the most common reason is to improve efficiencies and reduce costs (42%) which underscores the real commercial business benefits that they see in this area.

However, a key challenge for many lies in understanding what to prioritise for maximum impact in the move to more sustainable business practices, particularly when limited resources are stretched thin due to the pandemic.

“Mid-market businesses are agile, adaptable, and many like to keep ahead of the curve, so sustainability makes sense to them,” says Trent Gazzaway, global leader services lines and capability at Grant Thornton International Ltd. “However, when it comes to reporting on certain aspects of sustainability such as carbon reduction, diversity and inclusion, their business models and adherence to regulatory requirements, many are finding it a challenge to understand what to prioritise.”

The top three obstacles indicated in the latest IBR data are:

  1. Busy dealing with issues linked to the pandemic (31%)
  2. Lack of clarity around new regulations/requirements (31%)
  3. Concerns about the costs related to taking action (30%)

The benefit of specialist advice can be invaluable when navigating the myriad reporting frameworks for sustainability. While mid-market businesses’ natural ability to adapt will help, there is a clear role for government, regulators, and standard setters to provide support and establish clear pathways to best practice reporting on sustainability matters.

The journey to a more sustainable future for businesses is not just about reporting. While it is fundamental to the sustainability journey, it’s also important for businesses to create a long-term vision, goal and values structure that will help see them through this transition.

“The willingness to take a long-term approach – even in the face of short-term difficulties – is a key pillar of sustainability, and it will serve businesses well in the future”, says Gazzaway.


Further enquiries, please contact:
Thor Bostelmann
Corporate Communications Manager
Grant Thornton International Ltd
D: +44 (0)20 3890 8422
M: +44 (0)77 1754 0113

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All references to Grant Thornton International in the press release and this “Notes to editor” section are to Grant Thornton International Ltd. Grant Thornton International Ltd is a non-practicing, international umbrella entity organized as a private company limited by guarantee incorporated in England and Wales.

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