The data is astounding: British businesses could save £23 billion a year and protect the environment at the same time by reducing energy and water consumption. Want to know more?The Energy SavingTrust is continually striving to highlight the link between energy usage and monetary savings and show that being more energy efficient can improve the bottom line as well as help the environment. It’s a message we hear over and over, but with energy prices soaring it perhaps has more resonance now than it once had.
One of the key findings from a government funded survey by the Oakdene Hollins consultancy was that using water and energy more efficiently could save British businesses £23bn each year, while protecting the environment at the same time. In addition, according to the Corporate Leadership Council, organisations that are highly engaged with energy efficiency have the potential to reduce staff turnover by 87% and improve performance by 20%.
They’re big numbers that go a long way in highlighting how being more energy efficient can have a positive impact for businesses of all sizes. But the key question is how to get staff and customers truly engaged with energy efficiency so all the potential benefits can be realised.
The Energy Saving Trust puts forward three clear ways to achieving this. It makes crystal clear the link between sustainable improvement and financial improvement; educates employees about why sustainability is important for a business; and looks at employee training on sustainable issues.
The first step - making clear the link between sustainable improvement and financial improvement - requires buy-in across the whole organisation, with a particular focus on the finance department and director! Once you have this cross-organisational buy-in then these positive changes can start to be made.
Engaging and inspiring the workforce on the sustainability agenda is an important next step and can be achieved by creating a visibility and awareness of the business’ sustainability strategy, and then ensuring that the employees become active stakeholders in its success. The Trust stresses that without clear, dynamic, inspiring and ongoing communications on environmental, climate and sustainability issues, you won’t get employees on board.
Providing staff with simple and practical advice on how to save energy is one thing, but provide too a more complex energy efficiency insight that not only impacts the organisation internally but can or communicated to customers. This more involved communication may require training, but it doesn’t have to be across the whole organisation – you can choose a collection of employees to be ‘sustainable energy champions’ that filter down the information and educate the rest.
The Energy Saving Trust has developed a standard for best practice energy efficiency advice for employees from a variety of different businesses (http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/ Organisations/Insight-and- expertise/Employee-engagement), and some energy suppliers are able to offer this level of endorsed energy efficiency advice to their own customers so it’s worth asking your supplier for advice. It’s worth noting that Good Energy came top of the ‘Which?’ guide’s Energy Company Satisfaction Survey.
As a whole, the UK managed to reduce its carbon emissions by 8% between 2010 and 2011. The vast majority of businesses will be able to greatly reduce energy and water usage, saving carbon emissions and money to help further this reduction in the UK’s carbon emissions. This could be through implementing better process technology to developing different programmes to engage with employees.
For the good of the environment, your organisation’s reputation and your bottom line, it certainly makes sense to focus on energy efficiency going forward into 2014.