Last week the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) launched a wave of new consultations focused on improving energy efficiency and sustainability across the UK to coincide with Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister and his subsequent dramatic Cabinet overhaul, including Andrea Leadsom taking over at BEIS.
These policy proposals include a fresh funding model for new-build nuclear, plans to re-purpose existing fossil fuel infrastructure as carbon capture and storage, legislation to enforce the proposed move away from coal for electricity generation by 2025 and a revamp of the electricity market for more flexibility and better support for low carbon options.
All of this is designed to further drive the UK towards its ambitious climate change objectives. While overall any step towards reducing our environmental impact is to be applauded, the breadth of these new proposals bring into focus both how uncertain that path to net zero is and how fundamental many of the changes that we will need to make will be.
This has massive implications for businesses of any size and at any stage throughout the supply chain. The so-called ‘Green Rush’, initially driven by customers and stakeholders, is being accelerated by Government, kicked started by the net zero by 2050 legacy announcement by outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May.
Whatever the type of your business, the expectations surrounding your sustainability plans and incoming changes to energy infrastructure will impact significantly. Ensuring you are already working towards these goals enables you to limit any negative impact and to capitalise on the positives, such as competitiveness, reputation and brand equity.
The broader context of this is the UK energy market enduring a period of considerable unpredictability, with the future clouded most prominently by Brexit, but also by uncertainty over upcoming legislation and quite which path we should take to give the UK the best chance of meeting our climate goals.
Simply put, the most important step that any business can take to both contribute to overall carbon reduction efforts and to protect themselves from possibly volatile energy prices is to reduce consumption.
As green technology continues to diversify and improve, the options available to reduce reliance on grid and fossil-fuelled-powered energy are ever-growing. However, it is important to understand that potentially costly technology options are far from the only choices available. There are plenty of options that can deliver noticeable savings without sizeable upfront investment.
Also fully engaging your staff with the company’s sustainability goals and providing them with training to better contribute to these objectives is often one of the most impactful measures that any business can employ.
Putting an effective sustainability plan into practice requires teams to understand and meaningfully engage with the goals before targets can be achieved. For example, some companies appoint volunteers referred to as ‘energy champions’ or ‘energy doctors’, often at a rate of one per team, as a way of influencing colleagues.
For some, engaging employees with this process can be challenging, with some simply disinterested or failing to appreciate the importance of such measures either in terms of the wider global picture, particularly given the scale of emissions from countries, such as China and India, or the future financial performance of their employer.
The reality of the need for improved sustainability, fortunately, is that the goals of your company likely align well with your employees’ personal values, providing that you are able to effectively communicate these goals and the rationale for them.
Improved profitability and competitiveness, alongside the role played in wider climate change goals, should strike a balance that motivates employees, whether they are primarily concerned with their wider impact on the planet or their employer’s future security.
Once successfully engaged, the next key step is implementation and ongoing support and monitoring of a sustainability policy. Internal and external training via meetings, conferences and webinars can help to provide the understanding and additional motivation needed for workforces to begin making an effective sustainability strategy a practical reality.
Once the right culture is in place, you will be on much surer footing to press on with other aspects, such behind-the-meter generation and energy efficiency technologies.
At Inenco, we have a team of dedicated engineers and other professionals who specialise in advising customers on their energy efficiency strategy, and most importantly the implementation of the strategy, which provides quantifiable savings of both costs and environmental impact. To find out more, speak to one of our consultants on 08451 46 36 26 or send us an email and we will be in touch.