What is the value of businesses prioritising sustainability? Is it a tick-box exercise? Or could it deliver long-term commercial benefits? We look at six ways that embedding sustainability in your organisation isn’t just an ethical decision, it’s a commercial one too.
1. Switching to renewable energy could save trillions.
A recent study undertaken by the University of Oxford has found out that switching away from fossil fuels and towards an energy system powered by renewables could save the world trillions. And that’s without the huge costs imposed by worsening climate disasters. The study estimates how the cost of renewable technologies, and ethical battery storage, will decrease over time and become the most cheap, plentiful and reliable energy solution.
Could this year be the year that you install renewable technologies at your business premises, and join this green revolution? With ongoing volatility and high wholesale energy prices; the initial expenditure could save your business money longer term and shield you from future price volatility. Find out more about how generating and storing clean energy could benefit your business in this article, or speak with our team about how we could help you to finance and install green tech at your site.
2. Focusing on sustainability helps to de-risk your business
Businesses of all sizes have an important role to play in efforts to tackle climate change. As of April 2022, all large UK businesses with more than 500 employees and a turnover of £500 million are required to follow the Taskforce on Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations and report on their climate-related risks and opportunities. Having an awareness of these risks and opportunities, will benefit businesses of all sizes. Here are some areas to consider:
Risk: Energy prices are at an all-time high and fewer businesses will be able to access government support from April.
Opportunity: Increasing your own energy self-reliance, with on site renewable technology and storage, could help to protect operations from some price volatility and provide a steady stream of income. It could improve brand reputation and be used to attract new customers and employees.
Risk: Stranded assets are assets that turn out to be worth less than expected as a result of changes associated with the low carbon transition. Companies extracting coal, gas and oil; as well as industries with high fuel use such as aviation; could be affected by stranded assets. Companies that invest in these industries could risk a sudden drop in the value of their shares, and workers could lose out on jobs and income. Severe weather events could also impact on business operations.
Opportunity: Carefully considering the climate risks associated with your building and assets, via scenario-based analysis, will help you become more climate resilient and future proof business growth. Creating a more stable environment for your business, such as choosing a flood and drought resistant office facility, will mean that severe weather conditions have a lesser impact on business operations.
Risk: Transporting goods using petrol or diesel is getting more expensive. There is a shift in consumer preference towards low carbon delivery.
Opportunity: Electrifying fleets could reduce long term costs, improve brand perception and also enable participation in schemes where power is sold back to the grid at peak times.
Supply chain impact
Risk: Businesses that are serious about pursuing net zero will need to consider the carbon emissions of their supply chain (Scope 3). Failing to consider this could risk damage to reputation, loss of customers or supply chain collapse.
Opportunity: There are several ways to reduce Scope 3 emissions including working with local companies, providing leadership in decarbonisation to your existing supply chain and influencing improved purchasing habits.
3. Sustainability saves money and reduces waste
Sustainability in business means using less and wasting less; whether that is time, money, energy or materials. It also means continually looking at your operations and working out if there is a way that they could be done better, through innovations or by seeing what others in your field are doing. Businesses need to keep adapting to keep up.
Are your processes as efficient as they could be? Are there simple switches that will help you make savings? Check out our articles for a head start on making your business more efficient:
- How to reduce waste in business
- Easy ways to reduce plastic
- How to reduce your heating carbon footprint
- Energy efficiency tips for retailers and manufacturers.
Watch Mart Drake Knight, Founder of Rapanui, in a TEDx talk about designing the circular economy.
4. Consumers and employees are motivated by sustainability.
The most recent BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker demonstrated that 83% of the UK population are concerned about climate change, with 45% ‘very concerned’. Taking action to directly reduce your carbon emissions and embed sustainability throughout your organisation is a tangible way to demonstrate that you’re committed to doing your bit to limit global heating.
This public attitude isn’t limited to the brands that people are likely to choose as consumers either. It also impacts the sort of careers that people want to pursue. According to a 2022 survey, 67% of people are more likely to apply to an employer that they consider to be sustainable.
5. Sustainable businesses are more likely to win work
Reducing the environmental impact of your operations and being transparent about your sustainability journey will make your business more likely to win work.
Any company that is used to tendering for work will know that sustainability is a key consideration. Points are assigned for multiple factors that might include cost, health and safety, environment and methodology. The business that can prove via the tender that they can complete the work with the lowest impact is most likely to win the contract.
For companies that don’t need to tender to win work, the same focus and commitment to reducing their impact should still stand. Providing and promoting clear and credible information about your sustainability credentials will make you stand out as a quality supplier; and it will also help the businesses you work with to report on their supply chain emissions more accurately too.
And finally consumers are increasingly motivated to make choices that help them to reduce their own impact on the planet. According to the 2022 UK Brand Sustainability Benchmark Report, shoppers switched to brands with the best environmental credentials at twice the rate of the average brand, so explaining clearly how your product or service is kinder to the environment may help you to attract new customers too.
6. Businesses taking the lead in the low carbon transition are very profitable
Many global companies have been at the forefront of a transition to a net zero future; while maintaining growth and achieving impressive profits. They’ve used the target as an opportunity to innovate and enhance their risk management. These include Unilever – one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies – who have announced a goal of having zero emissions from their operations by 2030. They’ve invested in energy efficiency programmes, switched to 100% renewable electricity in five continents, and have so far halved their carbon emissions compared with 2008.
Another company taking the lead in sustainability is AstraZeneca, who have achieved a 98% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions compared with 2015; and have committed to maximising their share of spend with supply chain companies that also have Science Based Targets in place.
How can we help you on your sustainability journey?
Good Energy can help you on your sustainability journey in many ways – whether that’s bigger actions like helping you to install onsite renewable generation; to simply sharing our learning with you via our Insight Hub, as we pursue net zero using the Science Based Targets initiative.
Speak to our business sales team about switching to our 100% renewable electricity, or find out more about how we could help you to finance and install onsite renewable generation.