Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thunberg and plastic bag bans have all seen sustainability thrust into the public conscience in a bigger way than ever before in recent years. Now, according to a survey conducted by Manufacturing Management and energy consultancy, Inenco, those attitudes are starting to have an impact on the way manufacturers operate and view their sustainability.

An impressive 92% of MM readers say that sustainability is either ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to their businesses, with an even higher percentage (97%) saying its profile is increasing internally. Even more surprising is what’s driving this increase in importance.

Just 12% of respondents said that investors were behind any sustainability programme on-site. By contrast, 72% said that their corporate reputation was the reason, and over half (53%) said their customers were demanding it.

Reputation and the way companies are perceived trumps the financial argument. This, says Lee Knott, corporate sales director at Inenco, represents a dramatic shift in business attitudes. “In my 30 years of being in industry, I have never known an investment strategy, or board-level strategy that hasn’t been financially orientated – until now,” he says.

To read the full Sustainable Thinking report, http://email.manufacturingmanagement.co.uk/k/Mark-Allen-Group/mm_sustainable_thinking_report