• Business For Good Programme finds new research insights

    27 November 2023

    Everyones Edinbugh_ (002)

    Everyone's Edinburgh evaluate business needs

    Harriot Dodd, Everyone's Edinburgh

    Edinburgh is part of the Cities Can B movement. This growing global network aims to bring thousands of individuals and organisations together to achieve inclusion, sustainability and shared prosperity as envisaged by the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

    Everyone’s Edinburgh is the charitable arm of our city’s Can B movement. In 2022 its Business For Good programme piloted a set of tools aiming to guide businesses on their journey towards purpose-driven operations. This year, together with Edinburgh Napier University and Edinburgh businesses, with funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, we conducted a short piece of research asking: "How do we better understand the tools, products, and services that SMEs in Edinburgh need to embark and persist on their business-with-purpose journey?"

    The research, which was able to reach more than 130 SMEs through surveys and interviews, yielded valuable insights and shed light on the challenges and opportunities in fostering responsible business practices. It revealed that Edinburgh's SMEs still face a challenge to becoming purpose-driven as they contribute to the city’s sustainability and inclusion.


    The Good News

    Levels of awareness and action in Edinburgh are reported as high:

    • 70% of Edinburgh SMEs see themselves as actively implementing responsible business practices
    • 93.5% are motivated by the need to combat the effects of climate change
    • 89.5% reported wanting to benefit the local community
    • 88.9% valued a sense of using business to do good
    • 83.9% wanted their business to align with their personal views and beliefs

    Still to do

    Many business expressed confusion over what really constitutes a 'responsible business' and where they can focus their efforts. The study revealed low awareness among participants regarding the city’s net zero targets, government support schemes, and even Everyone’s Edinburgh itself.

    Finding time and identifying the most strategically effective activities that can run as part of the business is a key challenge in a highly challenging context. On average, only 1-2 hours per month are reported as focused on responsible business activities.

    Perhaps not surprising, financing change was noted: 61% of SMEs indicated a need for accessible resources and support.

    What's needed?

    Training is needed and in-demand – online or in person?

    • 61% of SMEs prefer in-person training and development, although 56% did acknowledge the usefulness of online courses
    • When offering online courses, on-demand content was preferred over live delivery to increase flexibility and accessibility


    We hope this research can be useful for anyone interested in shaping projects and programmes that aim to support SMEs towards responsible and impactful practices and Edinburgh’s journey for inclusive sustainability.

    Everyone’s Edinburgh would love to welcome new members with energy and focus for the Can B movement. Please email Harriet Dodd to find how you or your business can get involved.

    View the full research findings [PDF window opens]


    Want to know more about UKSPF funded Edinburgh projects? Visit our UKSPF webpage.

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