Why Change Management Begins with Sustainability
Katie Burrows, energy services solutions manager for UK renewable electricity supplier Haven Power, presents the business case for decarbonisation.
In recent years, more and more pressure has been put on organisations to make a substantial difference to their practices in line with the fight against climate change. Investing in sustainability is now more important than ever as we become increasingly aware of the impact that businesses have on global emissions. But sometimes, the decision to integrate new sustainable practices comes with a cost, which can present difficulties when presenting any business case for change to the board.
Facility professionals though are in a unique position to help influence an organisation’s sustainable policies and communicate the benefits. They have the oversight of how all of the buildings systems and services run and are able to see where efficiencies can be made with minimal disruption. With that in mind, we at Haven Power have put together some thought starters to help you build a strong business case for the decision makers of your organisation.
Saving money through energy consumption
Whether it’s mostly used to power machinery, refrigerators or computers, energy often accounts for a significant percentage of an organisation’s operating costs. And, while the decarbonisation of the UK’s energy supply to achieve net zero is predicted to cost over £1 trillion, the board are likely to want to know exactly how this might impact the business’ profitability. According to our own research here at Haven Power, over a third (37 per cent) of businesses think that it would be too costly to implement renewable energy, but we actually know that businesses can use renewable energy to save money.
The easiest way to gain an understanding of how energy consumption can impact the business and its carbon footprint is to engage in a conversation with an energy supplier directly. An expert is the most likely person to know how your business specifically can reduce their energy consumption and therefore their carbon footprint.
An expert might, for example, suggest joining Demand Side Response (DSR) programmes, which give you the opportunity to earn extra revenue by altering your energy consumption patterns. Or, perhaps switching to a self-generated or stored electricity at peak times might be of benefit, as this is when power is at its most expensive.
If you have the land and resources available, generating your own electricity using solar panels or a wind farm could be a great way to make some additional revenue. Organisations can get paid for generating their own electricity by setting up a renewable Purchase Power Agreement (PPA) with their energy supplier. It means your business receives the financial benefit of selling energy back to the grid, just without the administration.
As climate change has become a more pressing issue within our society over recent years, the pressure on businesses to commit to a greener strategy and actively reduce their carbon footprint has been mounting. The Government of the United Kingdom has committed to achieving net zero by 2050, whilst Scotland's target deadline date of 2045 is even more ambitious.
It falls upon business and organisations within the UK to make rapid adjustments to their policies, processes and products in this time, and so starting to make changes as soon as possible is vital. Almost half of UK businesses have already put plans in place to reach net zero by 2050, with one in ten already there.
So far, there has been a vast improvement in the amount of carbon emissions that are produced in the UK, particularly through electricity generation. A third (exactly 33.3 per cent) of electricity generated in the UK in 2018 came from renewable sources, and whilst this was a vast improvement on previous years, this number needs to continue to rise to meet net zero.
As a part of reaching net zero by 2050, the UK government has brought forward its ban on petrol, diesel and hybrid cars from 2040 to 2035. As a business, investing in electric vehicles is a huge investment, but it’s one that shouldn’t be immediately dismissed. There are a lot of things to be considered, but making the transition to electric vehicles will have both a significant impact on your carbon footprint and even save the business money in the long run. That’s because EV’s can help a business save around 20 per cent on fuel costs and 30 per cent on maintenance, with the added benefits of free road tax and a lack of congestion charges, too.
Making a strong business case to the decision makers higher up within the company is vital if you’re looking to make a difference and future-proof your organisation. Just make sure to make the arguments you put forward are clear, relatable, and unassailable.
As a business, keeping up with competitors is vital, and the benefits that come along with using greener processes will help put you one foot in front of the rest. It’s time to say yes to sustainability, and make use of the great benefits that sustainable practices can bring to your organisation.