Sustainability and profitability – proving lower carbon is not always a zero sum game
Climate change is one of the biggest risks we face in our society, and it’s critical that business organisations embed sustainability at the heart of business strategy.
In a recent pan-European survey1 by E.ON, around a quarter of people (27%) said it is the responsibility of industry to tackle the challenge of climate change and pollution, more so (24%) than those who said it is primarily the role of the state.
Of course there are forward-thinking businesses that have minimised their waste and now operate their own lower carbon energy sources which are having a significant impact on greenhouse gas levels. And new intelligent energy solutions mean it's easier and more affordable to deploy sustainable energy practices and contribute to combating climate change.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal call to action by the United Nations Development Programme - 17 Goals covering areas such as climate change, clean energy and sustainable consumption to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
So why care? In short, businesses that are demonstrating their commitment to a cleaner environment and brighter future are seen more favourable by shareholders, investors, suppliers and customers. Sustainability needn’t be a cost but can be the catalyst for profitability.
Read on to find out more on how the SDGs can affect your business
and what can you do to challenge and improve your current practices
Speaking to some of our business customers at E.ON, sustainability is rarely driven by a single factor – most companies are looking to reduce waste or increase the role of renewable energy sources not only because it is the right thing to do from society’s perspective but because it makes economic sense too.
In their own words, some of the country’s leading manufacturers can see the value in “reducing waste . . . and carbon emissions in our manufacturing processes” or “putting waste heat and renewable energy sources to good use too”.
Is your business ready for ESOS?
The Government’s Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) is an
Why Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)?
Unlike previous initiatives SDGs are time-bound which means businesses have clarity of what they need to do and by when, allowing greater organisation of resources, strengthened collaboration and networking of stakeholders.
Another important aspect of the SDGs is that they promote a long-term approach to addressing global challenges with targets for the next 11 years meaning that they reinforce the commitment of governments regardless of changes in national political landscapes.
How do the SDGs relate to you?
Three critical goals impact energy for business:
Goal 7: Clean and affordable energy - aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity the world faces today. Be it for jobs, security, climate change, food production or increasing incomes, access to energy for all is essential. Increasing the use of renewable energy by 2030 is a key goal.
Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns promotes amongst other things energy efficiency with one goal being to achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources by 2030.
Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts; more people are turning to renewable energy and a range of other measures that will reduce emissions.
So how does this affect your business and what can you do to challenge your current practices?
Of course managing cost to your business is always top of mind. Whilst very large businesses have benefited from a regulatory framework encouraging their ability to compete globally, other businesses have not had that support. But there are actions you can take:
- Source your supply from renewable sources – a Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) backed electricity supply gives you the confidence to be able to report zero carbon emissions.
- Optimise your energy – understanding your energy usage is the first step. Through data visualisation tools gain an understanding of where and how you use your energy. Shifting when you use your energy or turning down your usage at appropriate times could be a first step to identifying where further energy efficiency improvements could be made.
- Control your energy – maximise your energy through intelligent building control, lighting, heating and air-conditioning.
- Self-generation & storage – generating your own energy, particularly from renewable sources such as solar and wind, provides clean energy; any surplus can be either stored with battery storage for later use, or used as a fed into National Grid’s flexibility services or if you can’t commit to those simply exported as a source of revenue.
1 Survey of 7,000 adults across UK, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Czech Republic and Hungary. Research conducted by research institute puls on behalf of E.ON