A new report from edie has cited political instability as a major barrier for sustainable investments in the UK. Released quarterly, edie’s Sustainable Business Tracker polls sustainability and energy managers, providing key insight to industry challenges and feedback. Here are some of the key findings.

Green agenda items shelved during political instability

Of the 323 survey respondents, over a quarter (27%) said that political instability was one of their biggest macro-level challenges in business. The survey found this to be sited as an overall bigger challenge than both the cost-of-living crisis and the recession.

With a quick turnaround during Elizabeth Truss’s time as PM and another UK election around the corner, many business owners feel that sustainable priorities must be put on hold. The most recent election was held in 2019, whereby Theresa May had only just set legally binding targets for the UK to reach net zero by 2050.

Of late, Rishi Sunak’s U-turn on EV and heat pump transition dates in September 2023 also played a heavy hand in questioning whether the PM is serious about meeting the UK’s 2035 and 2050 net zero goals.

Eight of ten respondents agreed that the next general UK election is “a much-needed opportunity to recharge the UK’s net-zero transition”.

Barriers to investing

According to edie’s Tracker results, concerns about finance were cited by half of the respondents (52%) as the largest obstacle to implementing their organisation’s sustainability plan. This concern ranked just as highly with larger firms as it did with SMEs.

A third of respondents also pointed out a disconnect between their finance and sustainability teams, with 36% reporting that their finance teams are not engaged with environmental sustainability projects.

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