Only one third of firms in the North West have made any environmental improvements in the last year and 80% don't plan to make improvements in 2010, a new survey by Enworks has revealed.
Enworks said evidence from Defra showed that North West companies could save the region's economy £713m through improved resource efficiency.
Enworks is the region's publicly funded green business support programme, co-ordinating environmental advice and training to companies. The organisation surveyed more than 2,000 companies of varying sizes and sectors.
The survey found that companies' motivations for implementing environmental improvements are to save money.
Low impact measures, such as turning off lights, installing low energy light bulbs and increasing recycling, were the most popular improvements made and the reasons give were to make cost savings.
Todd Holden, director of Enworks, said: "Low impact measures are a step in the right direction but are unlikely to dramatically reduce overheads, which we found was the most common incentive for companies to change their behaviour.
"More than 90% of the businesses we work with go on to make improvements to their resource efficiency and we need to enable more and more companies to do the same in 2010. They will then see real returns."
Enworks received £10m from the North West Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund to provide advice and support to businesses in the region to make environmental improvements.