We always want to better understand our customers’ broader business issues. So we commissioned the Institute of Customer Service to speak to big and small businesses throughout the UK. We discovered that 85% of the businesses have a strategy for sustainability, but what exactly that covers varies widely. For some, it’s only about cutting carbon. Which is a great first step. But a robust sustainability plan can do so much more for your business.
You can save money by being more sustainable. For example, Clapham Junction railway station in London – one of the busiest in the UK – recently reduced its lighting energy usage by 40%, saving them over £7m annually.
Similarly, Marriott Hotels has reduced its energy usage through a system that temporarily turns the air conditioning off at times of peak demand. This results in a slight drop in water temperature that goes unnoticed by guests but could ultimately save the hotel chain £700,000 a year.
And choosing 100% renewable energy doesn’t have to be an extra cost for your business either. Haven Power, for example, offers it as standard – as the Suffolk FA recently discovered.
Employee engagement programmes can improve levels of satisfaction across your workforce and make people feel that they, and the company, are making a difference.
Innocent Drinks understands the importance of including staff in its sustainability projects. They recently revised their sustainability strategy following feedback from employees who said they were frustrated that they weren’t as involved in the company’s sustainability targets as they wanted to be. Now, their people can choose to be an ‘agitator’, ‘activator’, ‘ambassador’ or ‘protector’.
The majority of board members act as protectors, directly supporting the sustainability strategy and holding teams accountable for their actions. The ambassadors share the strategy and ambitions with others, while the activators actually have to deliver the sustainability strategy. More than half of Innocent’s employees have adopted the agitator role. Agitators are more grassroots in their involvement, but are asked to come up with and implement ideas that can improve sustainability both at home and at work. These grassroots suggestions can be very impactful.
Haven Power saved nearly 100 tonnes of carbon in 2017 thanks to suggestions from employees. Schemes like these can make your business a more appealing place to work and a magnet for potential employees too.
We know from our research that 49% of organisations want to tell customers that they are using energy from sustainable sources. Being able to provide a clear, simple sustainability story – like our 100% renewable energy generated through biomass – is important to help these businesses achieve their goals.
Low Costa Mill holiday cottages were able to achieve TripAdvisor Gold Eco Leader status using renewable energy from Haven Power. This industry recognition is helping the family-run firm to attract ethical customers and creating new opportunities.
And it’s not about ticking a box. Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan has shown that its Sustainable Living brands grew over 50% faster than the rest of their business.
Soon, a thorough sustainability plan will be even more valuable to your business. Business energy suppliers offer services where you can generate energy onsite, store it in batteries and sell it back to the grid. Turning energy from a bill into an income stream for your business. Already, Haven Power has helped Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust earn around £200,000 annually from demand side response (providing the grid with additional energy capacity when needed).
Digitisation is also set to make energy systems more connected, intelligent, reliable and sustainable. And advances in data, analytics and connectivity are enabling developers to create a range of new digital applications that give control back to you, the customer.
That’s the tip of the iceberg of how energy is changing forever. So are you getting all you can from your sustainability strategy?
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