The Road To Net-Zero Carbon

It’s hard to turn in any direction where you won’t encounter the spectre of climate change. 

Indeed, Torbay Council’s Councillor and Deputy Mayor, David Thomas, states in the Council’s Energy and Climate Change Strategy that, ‘Torbay has reduced its emissions by 25% since 1990 but there will need to be considerable activity on an unprecedented scale in order to meet the national targets of a 34% cut in carbon emissions by 2020 and 80% by 2050’.

Wider afield, Ex Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, is on record telling the business community to ‘Draw up climate rules, or have them imposed’.

Government pressure is now on many of us via local Councils, with over 250 declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’. This pressure was already there from Consumers and many B2B clients, however. 

As an example, a carbon trust survey indicates that 67% of consumers would feel more positive towards companies that are reducing their carbon footprint. A Futurra survey says it’s as many as 88% of your customers.

The ever-increasing clamour for businesses to demonstrate their response to climate change, means that we must all address this challenge, or risk increasing brand promiscuity and fines. This is the case across all sectors and is particularly noticeable in Leisure and Hospitality and Retail.

Green Tourism and Shopping

Hotels and holiday parks are particularly well-placed to take advantage of advances in sustainable energy technology: In this sector, the path to net-zero Carbon is well trodden. This is understandable, given the rise in green tourism, with environmentally discerning guests actively seeking out green destinations.

Your green credentials can make the difference between winning business, or losing it to a nearby competitor. Saving energy has more implications for your profit than simply reducing costs.

It’s more difficult for Retailers however, with so many premises being leasehold and space restricted. That’s not to say it’s impossible though and there are several solutions which are achievable and affordable.

Changing The Attitudes Of Your Workforce

Start here. Most of us now think that achieving net-zero Carbon is necessary. Surveys show that personal behaviour change to ensure it happens, does not reflect this, however. 

To ensure involvement and buy-in, it’s a good idea to state that your business has a Carbon reduction goal and that you’d like to hear ideas from your workforce as to how they think their own behaviours can contribute. Maybe even incentivise ideas that you adopt. A simple thing like gradually replacing desktop computers with laptops, can make a significant difference.

Other measurable differences in reducing emissions and costs, are achievable by turning your boiler and heating down by one degree. Encourage car sharing, home working (if possible) and video conferencing. Turn off lights and computers when unused. Perhaps invest in a solar power plant system. The list is very comprehensive and most of these things are easy to achieve.

Green Tariffs Are For All Businesses

Whatever your business sector, the next step is to buy a certifiable green energy tariff. This is especially attractive for electricity, which is now price comparable with its polluting fossil-fuel generated alternatives. Now there is also green gas, which although is currently more expensive than natural gas, will drop in price over time.

Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin certificates (REGOs) allow energy suppliers to prove to their final customers that a given share of energy came from renewable sources.

This gives you the confidence that the carbon emission rate of your electricity and gas supply is in fact carbon neutral, meaning improvements to your overall figures.

‘Carbon neutral’ is what your guests, customers and clients like to hear, and this step towards it will, in most cases, cost you no more than your existing tariff.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Do your clients park outside, or within the boundaries of your business? Like it or not, they’ll soon be arriving in an Electric Vehicle. Or not, if you can’t offer them a charging facility. Look at these verifiable figures –

  • 2,370,000 new car registrations in 2018
  • 60% of new cars to be electric by 2030
  • By 2030 therefore, 1,422,000 of these will be EVs

Another interesting statistic:

  • 13,688 public active EV charge points in the UK
  • 8,546 locations

To be sure, EVs are one of those big disruptive changes which can provide you with many new opportunities. They are a particularly worthwhile investment and are comparatively inexpensive as energy efficient technologies go.

For in-town/City businesses, Chambers of Commerce and other commercial forums are a good way of lobbying private car-park operators and Councils. The objective is to persuade them to install enough stations to meet rising demand.

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