Green energy will help businesses in the era of innovation
One of the most important factors in building an innovative business is a thoughtful energy policy, analysts at Centrica are sure. Energy should not be treated as a cost, but as a valuable asset that will play an important role in the future.
Under pressure from the government, consumers and their shareholders, the energy companies have become concerned with doing business as responsibly as possible to the environment and society as a whole. This is the conclusion of Centrica Business Solutions analysts in the study “The essence of sustainable business growth”.
The document is based on a survey of more than 1.5 thousand managers responsible for the energy supply of business from companies in seven industries in ten countries in Europe and America. Centrica conducted a similar survey two years earlier, in 2017. During this period, in the list of top 10 organizational priorities, “social and environmental responsibility of business” moved from the sixth to the third line. The first two places remain the same: the efficiency of the enterprise and strong financial results.
Increased attention to ecology and energy saving is manifested in the fact that now 67% of companies from the survey have a detailed energy strategy with goals, objectives and a separate budget against 58% in 2017. In two years, the number of managers paying special attention to energy security has increased from 28 to 34%. In addition, over the past year, 36% of companies in one way or another changed their brand positioning towards “eco-friendly” (friendly to nature).
Sustainable thinking in relation to energy is one of the key factors of the so-called sustainable business. Centrica analysts talked about what it means to be a sustainable enterprise and how to become one.
What is sustainable business?
According to the authors of the report, sustainable business is an enterprise that is looking for an innovative way to balance its financial goals and responsible, eco-friendly thinking, which is the key to the company's success in the future. Centrica analysts identified eight key characteristics of a similar business model:
the need to challenge traditional thinking;
growing your own talents;
understanding of external trends.
Energy, the authors believe the study plays a crucial role in the formation and maintenance of at least the first four characteristics of the list.
Customer centric business
Each subsequent generation of people will pay more and more attention to ecology, environmental protection and other environmental management issues. In such circumstances, the transition to "green" energy can be a good marketing ploy and increase brand loyalty.
In order to remain competitive, an enterprise must constantly innovate in the field of energy consumption and risk minimization. For example, the use of renewable energy resources will allow companies not only to become independent of the electricity grid, but also to subsequently sell their energy to the same network, earning additional profits.
Investing in the latest energy technologies is inextricably linked to the goal of sustainable business being both profitable and environmentally responsible. Electric cars are a good example: 49% of the polled managers said that their company has at least one electric or hybrid car. More than three quarters (77%) of respondents intend to purchase electric cars in the company’s staff over the next five years.
Companies need to understand what will become the source of energy for its needs in the coming decades. Many are now turning to the principles of a cyclical economy, in terms of re-using energy from industrial processes, which is now going nowhere.
How to become a sustainable company?
Centrica identifies four steps that a company must take to accelerate the transformation of its business in a sustainable economy model.
Firstly, to create an energy strategy of the company, link energy with financial indicators and convey to each employee that the topic of energy supply and energy saving is not a side load, but one of the key business issues.
Secondly, it is necessary to balance digital transformation with energy needs. This is done with the help of an external expert who will help to link the overall business development strategy with the objectives of innovation and with the issues of energy supply.
Third, minimize the risks. It is necessary to regularly conduct stress tests, risk assessments, reduce dependence on a single energy supplier.
Finally, develop a clear understanding of how a company can reduce emissions of harmful substances. This may be the production of products with minimal impact on the environment, careful selection of suppliers or the comprehensive control of emissions in their enterprises.