3 Simple ways your business can work towards a greener future

September 20, 2021

Wesley Johnson, Energy Knect

Adapting a green practice is rapidly becoming a leading trend for companies of all sizes. According to the KPMG Survey of Sustainability Reporting, 80% of companies worldwide are now reporting on sustainability, around 40% of companies now acknowledge the financial risks of climate change and one in five companies are reporting climate risk in line with TCFD recommendations.

Research is indicating that businesses who are adopting sustainability practices are taking advantage of a plethora of benefits including the likes of a competitive advantage over their peers, reduction of costs, new revenue opportunities and forging stronger relationships with clients, according to McKinsey.

I have highlighted a few popular “green” practices below that companies are currently adopting.

Calculate your carbon footprint

Calculating your carbon footprint at the first instance is a great place to start in order to obtain an idea of what areas need improvement and where you can prioritize your efforts.

Thanks to the growing trend in businesses wanting to do their part to save the planet, there are now many useful and user-friendly online tools available for companies to calculate their carbon footprint. A few popular options amongst businesses right now are the Carbon Footprint, WWF Carbon Footprint Calculator and Climate Care.

Depending on the complexity and size of your business, another option would be to seek support from an environmental and sustainability consultancy. They will not only calculate your net carbon output but also help you develop a plan to decrease it by providing you with a tailored and easy to follow management system to achieve your objectives. Furthermore, they typically provide the necessary training and are able to either request or offer you sustainability and environmental certifications to enhance your marketing efforts. According to a recent survey by KPMG, GRI remains the most commonly used reporting standard or framework used by businesses for sustainability.

If you do decide to go down the consultancy route, it’s advisable to research firms that specialise in your field or market segment, as they are typically better equipped to understand your situation and needs. For example, the SME Centre is an advisory firm that supports SME’s with sustainability and carbon management systems and certifications. Their management systems are already tailored to suit SME’s which in turn could save your business time and money from unnecessary consulting fees. For the larger, more complex business types, top tier firms like Accenture, Bain and PWC are well-positioned to offer your business sustainability and carbon management support.

Renewable energy source

One of the most effective and easiest ways in which your business can reduce its carbon footprint is by switching to a green or renewable business energy tariff. As companies start to embrace their shift towards a lower-carbon future, the process of opting for a greener energy provider has become more efficient and cost-effective than ever before. Research suggests that this is a result of many challenger brands competing for their place in the market as well as the likes of low carbon technology advancements, accelerated investment into infrastructure, and concerns around climate change and fossil fuels.

According to research by Forbes, right now, the big six “green” energy suppliers in the UK are British Gas, EDF Energy, E-ON, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE. There are also a few smaller, independent providers such as Bulb, Ecotricity and Octopus Energy that provide renewable business energy tariffs. The smaller independents often market cheaper tariffs for your business which as a result, could help your business save on your existing tariffs.

If your business is interested in making the switch there are plenty of online comparison tools like U switch or Forbes Advisor that can help you explore what options are best for your business, budget and needs.

Carbon offsetting

Whilst most businesses do their very best in trying to reduce their carbon footprint, some forms of emissions are just unavoidable in order to remain competitive. As a solution to this roadblock, businesses can offset their unavoidable emissions, by purchasing carbon credits, which are then used to support environmental projects around the world that either reduce greenhouse gas emissions or absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Despite some controversy around the lack of transparency and concerns over the quality and integrity of offsetting schemes there still seems to be a growing trend of companies around the world flocking to purchase offsets. Gold Standard, for example, issued 151 million carbon credits from over 900 projects in 2020 according to their most recent market report and Bloomberg quoted that the number of offsets sold in the past two years has doubled.

Perhaps the reason for the increased uptake is the growing perception that voluntary carbon credits can play a vital role in accelerating the transition to a global decarbonized economy and that avoiding emissions is typically the most cost-efficient way to address atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, according to McKinsey.

The verdict

In the past, companies typically shied away from green initiatives, as the return on investment was often difficult to quantify. However, with more companies incorporating green initiatives, it is now becoming evident that we are seeing positive and measurable impacts including the likes of improved efficiency, employee retention, cost savings and revenue growth, along with a competitive advantage and good brand reputation.

Is your business taking advantage of the “green opportunity”?