Business Technology

Going green: Cut carbon and bolster your bottom line

5 min read

11 April 2018

Former special projects journalist

In an ideal world, everyone would be using green energy, and we’d all love to reduce our carbon footprints. Here, we explore how doing just that can go hand-in-hand with a business’ bottom line.

We use energy every time we drive to work, cook our dinner or flick on a light switch. Very often, these actions are running on fossil fuels, but there are other alternatives out there.

In fact, many energy suppliers offer energy from renewable energy sources, such as biomass. As an example, Haven Power sources a lot of electricity from Drax Power Station, which has converted three of its generating units to use compressed wood pellets instead of coal. The biomass it uses to produce renewable power delivers carbon savings of 80% compared to when those generating units used coal.

Here, we make the argument that it is not just more environmentally sustainable, but in fact business savvy to go green.

Improve your bottom line

Suppliers often charge a premium for greener energy choices, so it may help to find a supplier that specialises in green energy and offers it as standard. Combine that with one that offers fixed contracts or tailored options for businesses and you can budget with certainty.

If you do choose a fixed-rate tariff, this means the price is fixed per unit of energy, not a fixed price per month. Therefore, the more energy efficient a business is, the lower the cost of running the business.

Sensible energy conservation is encouraged – for example, turning lights and computers off when they are not needed, switching to LED lights, or perhaps even getting an energy audit to see where your energy gets used.

However, it’s not just the initial tariff that will have far-reaching implications for your bottom line. This is where Corporate Social Responsibility comes in.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Going green, and being an ethical business, is more important now than ever before when it comes to attracting and retaining the best talent. According to a recent report from American Express, 62 per cent of millennials said it is important for them to be known for making a positive difference in the world.

In addition, the same report found that 61% of millennials would invest time or money in CSR if they were running a business today, and 74% of British millennials said it was important that the values of the business they work for match their own (compared to a 75% average across the UK, US, France and Germany).

That’s a lot of talent that may say no to working at a business that shrugs off sustainability – and a lot of customers that could choose to boycott companies they feel aren’t doing their part.

Corporate responsibility and making ethical choices is rewarding in its own right, but even for the hard-nosed, money-driven business people among us, it just makes good financial sense.

Switching providers is an easy way to show that your business cares about the planet.

Haven Power’s Chief Operating Officer, Paul Sheffield said: “Gone are the days where a focus on renewable electricity is just thought about by the ‘environmentally conscious.’ Now, issues surrounding alternative energy solutions include both a company’s financial performance as well as its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). As a result, an increasing number of businesses are starting to become more aware of issues such as reducing their carbon footprint, as well the potential cost benefits of using renewables and embracing energy-efficiency programmes.

“Switching to renewable electricity can be good for any business in terms of their Corporate Social Responsibility, but SMEs may have bigger priorities to worry about. However, exploring renewable energy or the possibility of self-generating can actually provide a lot of unforeseen benefits to small businesses, such as improved reputation and lower operating costs.”

What does the future hold

An electric revolution is already underway – fuelled with renewable power and smart technologies. This revolution will not be driven solely by large-scale power generators, but by ‘prosumers’ – individuals, businesses and institutions that not only consume electricity, but produce it too.

To support prosumers, the government launched the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) scheme which encourages the use of greener electricity. If you generate more energy than you require, you can actually sell it back to the grid – something to think about. You can find out more about the FIT scheme here.

Click here to find out more about Haven Power.