SMEs hit by soaring energy costs

SMEs hit by soaring energy costs

Increases bigger than healthcare, payroll, rent and equipment

Energy made up the "biggest cost increase" for small and medium-sized businesses over the past two years, according to a worldwide survey.

The cost of energy rose more than for healthcare, payroll, rent and equipment for 1,400 SMEs questioned by IBM.

Just under six out of 10 firms expressed concern about the environment, and 44 per cent claimed to have put general environmental policies in place.

However, IT decisions exhibited a bigger change, with over half of the companies reducing the energy consumption of their technology.

This included purchasing more energy-efficient technology, consolidating servers or evaluating server usage and performance.

"Despite the different reasons for small and mid-sized businesses to reduce their energy consumption, what is important is that businesses are taking action," said Steve Solazzo, general manager of IBM's Global Midmarket Business.

"The alignment of business interests and environmental interests underscores an important point: green business has become good business."

However, the study found that US businesses were less likely than companies in other countries to make energy-reducing decisions based on environmental concerns.

Fifty-two per cent of non-US businesses based decisions on energy reduction, compared to only 38 per cent of SMEs in the US.

US businesses were also less likely to know how much their IT systems contributed to overall energy costs.

The survey interviewed businesses with between 50 and 500 employees in eight countries.