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Agriculture leading the way with sustainability

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  • 73% of agriculture SMEs have made progress towards sustainability, compared with 46% on average across SMEs in other leading sectors
  • Agriculture SMEs also remain committed to making further steps towards sustainability, with 77% saying they will pay extra for green funding options
  • Improving business reputation, competitive advantage, and compliance with legislation cited amongst reasons for investing in sustainability
  • Research and analysis of over 500 UK SMEs conducted by Paragon Bank

Agriculture SMEs are the most likely to have invested in improving their sustainability, new research has found.

Conducted by Paragon Bank into leading sectors of the UK economy the research found that 73% of agriculture SMEs already considered themselves to be green.

The sector’s commitment to sustainability and green issues was in stark contrast to other industries, being almost three times as likely as construction (25%) and almost 30 percentage points higher than the national average of 46%.

Manufacturing and transport businesses recorded 37% and 48% respectively.

The research, involving over 500 UK businesses, also highlighted the commitment of agriculture SMEs to paying extra for green funding options, with 77% of those in the sector willing to do so compared with 49% of SMEs overall.

Whilst the agriculture sector is leading the way in embracing sustainability, there is still appetite to go further with 80% of the sector saying they were willing to making their businesses greener in future.

Citing benefits for making their businesses green, SMEs in the agriculture sector said investing in sustainability:

  • Improves the reputation of the business (59%)
  • Gives a competitive advantage over similar businesses (47%)
  • Ensures compliance with legislation (41%)
  • Saves money (26%)

The findings come at a time when the UK economy is facing the highest interest and inflation levels recorded in decades, with an expectation for the number of SMEs seeking refinancing and financial support to increase. 

Commenting on the findings, Paragon’s Ashley Butterfield, Regional Director SME Lending, said:

“Our sector can not only be proud of the steps it has taken to instil sustainability practices, but also the high proportion of agriculture SMEs that are committed to taking further action.

“With the recent impact to global supply chains affecting the sourcing of new, greener equipment and ongoing concerns about inflation, it is understandable that many firms in the sector are cautious about financing and the costs of taking further steps towards sustainability.

They continued: “There are a range of financial products and support, including refinancing, available to SMEs in the sector that can help provide them with the practical solutions they need.

“Such options can provide SMEs, depending on their circumstances, with both the financial means to invest in their green plans, as well as providing their customers the assurances over sustainability.” 


For further information contact:

Tom Frew
Media Relations Manger
E: [email protected]


Notes to editors:

Paragon Bank PLC a subsidiary of the Paragon Banking Group PLC which is a FTSE 250 company based in Solihull in the West Midlands. Established in 1985, Paragon Banking Group PLC has over £13 billion of assets under management and manages over 450,000 customer accounts.

Paragon Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England number 05390593. Paragon Bank PLC is registered on the Financial Services Register under the firm reference number 604551. Registered office 51 Homer Road, Solihull, West Midlands B91 3QJ.