Can you make innovation in sustainability financially viable in the short term?

Hand holding globe. Environment. Innovation in Sustainability

COP26 is just around the corner and innovation in sustainability is very much on the agenda.

You only have to see some of the recent announcements such as:

– Phasing out new Diesel and Petrol Cars by 2030

– Shell installing a network of 50,000 of accessible on-street and on forecourt EV charging points across the UK, through its recently acquired Ubitricity business.

– The Highways agency using Graphene in asphalt to enhance the durability of road surfaces and extending the periods of time between maintenance.


It’s the little things

We’ve been trying to work out how to make our tax consultancy more “Sustainable”, but its difficult, we work from a serviced office so have little impact on the choices of services. We come to work and travelled to our clients through a mixture of train and car, we could use cars less, but they are convenient, but we haven’t really been visiting clients since lockdown ceased. Instead, we have made use of services like Zoom and MS Teams to keep interacting with our customers, so perhaps in a way, we have stumbled into being slightly more sustainable.

We will continue this into the future and mix in a handful of client visits as we move forward. It’s difficult not being on a client’s premises, certainly when it comes to the engineering and manufacturing sectors that we support with Research and Development Tax Credit claims.

Being on site gives you a feel for what’s going on, especially if you have a curious nature, which we tend to have, because of what we do. When we ask questions based on what we see, hear and feel, generally speaking the potential to claim and also the value of the claim increases.

Sustainability doesn’t have to be expensive.  It doesn’t have to be huge grand gestures, it will be the sum of all of the little changes that we make in both our personal lives and in business that will be greater than the whole.


The bigger projects can get support

However, if you are looking for that one big project, that world beating new piece of technology, or an idea to revolutionise the agricultural industry or the renewables industry, or to reduce waste, then it might be expensive, it might be time consuming, but there are plenty of ways that you can find support from government.

There are a number of competitive grant schemes that have sustainable elements at their core, you only have to check out UK Research and Innovation  ( where there are over 100 opportunities for business funding, granted not all of them are focused on sustainability but there will be a significant number.

Then there’s research and development tax relief. If you are lucky enough to have successfully received a grant, you may be somewhat surprised to hear that you could also benefit from tax relief for spending the grant money. You can claim under the RDEC scheme, whether you are a large company or an SME for the grant funded projects, which for money spent since 1 April 2020 will generate either a tax rebate or a cash injection of up to 10.53% of the eligible costs.

If you are a small company and you either didn’t apply for a grant or weren’t successful in your application, but have decided to go it alone regardless then you could in fact be in line for an even greater cash injection for a loss making company of up to 33.35% of your eligible spend, if you are profitable it will reduce your tax liability by up to 24.7% of the eligible spend.

The last way the government can help is through Patent Box. If your new product is so ground-breaking that you are looking to Patent it and are successful in being granted a patent, you could reduce your tax bill further, because of the profits being generated on the sale of the items being taxed at a reduced rate of 10%.

As we move towards the end of 2021 and in to 2022, we can help you with all of these aspects of funding for innovation, as we have grown our business relationships to include an innovation grants funding expert to our existing family of services, which already focus on R&D and Patent Box.

In the meantime, one of the things that we have already been doing is offering a reduction in our fees for companies that are developing green technology, sustainable agriculture and renewables. We’ve worked with a few companies this year and are looking to find and support more businesses that are working in these high value areas that will help all of us to be a little more sustainable in our lives.


If you would like to have a chat to determine whether you have an eligible project, sustainable or not then you can book a 15 minute call with our director, Simon Bulteel at