Choosing Suppliers

Cultivate a greener reputation and score points with customers

6 min read

26 April 2018

Former special projects journalist

SME owners cannot afford to shirk their green duties these days. Here’s how to do it and bolster your bottom line.

Surely every business owners’ first choice to power their premises would be to use greener energy, so why isn’t everyone doing it? Granted, typically, greener tariffs can be more expensive – but there are plenty of ways to go green and actually improve your bottom line if you know what you’re doing.

For example, what about your brand’s image? If your brand prides itself on being environmentally friendly, or targets a demographic that strongly relates to a green lifestyle, it’s not a great idea to cultivate a reputation for being a gas-guzzler.

CSR is becoming increasingly important as the average consumer is becoming better informed and more diligent about the companies they buy from. According to research from Cone, 87% of consumers will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about. In addition, 76% will refuse a product upon learning a company has supported an issue contrary to their own beliefs.

This is no longer a “soft” issue, and it’s certainly not something you can bury your head in the sand over. The stance your company takes on environmental and social issues is something that will directly influence how your brand is perceived by potential customers.

Now for the nitty gritty. How does a business “go green”?

Step one: Choose a green energy supply

Not all green energy products are born equal, so it is definitely worth shopping around to find the best fit for your business. Suppliers sometimes offer a greener product that does not offer energy from renewable sources, but offsets the environmental impact in another way – such as planting trees.

Some suppliers are able to offer energy products which come from 100% certified renewable sources, along with a certificate you can use to showcase your green credentials.

These may be sourced from recycled waste, or natural sources such and sun and wind. Check out where suppliers are sourcing their energy before you sign on that dotted line.

Of course, price must be considered but some suppliers offer fixed rates for several years to help provide budget certainty and safeguard against price fluctuations.

Step two: Implement green best practice

The process of going green doesn’t stop once you’re signed up to a supplier – think of it as an ongoing process. You should be constantly striving to make your business more environmentally friendly and looking for new ways to conserve energy.

• Make an effort to understand how you are using energy to avoid silly mistakes – for example, do you have lights on in unused meeting rooms? Is the air con on while the windows are left wide open? If you are struggling to understand why your energy bills are too high, consider getting an external audit to help you understand your biggest drains on resources
• Make some simple switches. For example, look for more energy efficient machinery and switch to LED lights
• Educate your staff! They need to know what you know, as they are the ones running the show day-to-day. The Carbon Trust has some fantastic downloadable resources to encourage staff to save energy

Try to approach green energy as a first step towards a total green transformation – ensure you are recycling, and look for ways to cut down your carbon footprint, such as sharing rides to work or holding meetings online.

Step three: Shout about it!

In an ideal world, all businesses would be as green as they can be, but as things stand, for better or worse, going green is still something to shout about. Make sure your customers know you are proud to take your CSR seriously!

Use it as a marketing opportunity to build your business – tell your potential customers and employees about the greener changes your business is making, especially if it is on-brand.

Also try to remember, you are not just trying to impress potential customers, but potential staff and current members, too. According to American Express, 62% of Millennials say it is important for them to be known for making a positive difference in the world, and 55% say they care about what their friends and family think of their career.

Overall, improving your business’ approach to green energy could make your brand more appealing, both from a customer’s and an employee’s point of view. To learn more about how you can start your green journey today, click here.

Total Gas & Power are committed to better energy, and are the first supplier in the UK to provide green gas to a university, a trade union, cinema and pharma company. Their Eco-Energy product comes from 100% certified renewable sources and all customers receive a certificate to demonstrate their green credentials.