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Businesses must be convinced of the commercial case for sustainability

New research has found that improving sustainability is among the three biggest challenges faced by large and medium-sized organisations.

Greater focus is being put on bringing social and environmental concerns in line with factors affecting profitability, according to research undertaken by one of the UK’s leading business energy suppliers, Gazprom Energy,

The pressures of the recent pandemic and events such as Brexit have meant that factors affecting profitability are a key challenge for businesses. However, sustainability challenges are creeping up on the business agenda, highlighting greater ethical business thinking and an emphasis on people and the planet, alongside profit.

The research, published in the Road to Net-Zero report, found that ‘identifying ways to reduce energy consumption’ (75 per cent) and ‘working to reduced budgets’ (73 per cent) were the top two energy-related challenges organisations are up against. Despite the obvious concern for budgets, ‘trying to meet sustainability targets’ still managed to make an appearance near the top of the list, chasing closely behind at 69 per cent.

While promising, this still means that almost one third (31 per cent) of businesses do not consider sustainability a key challenge, despite possible effects on commercial performance and a big push by the UK government in recent years for businesses to go net-zero. As a result, just 40 per cent of businesses have made a net-zero commitment.

With sustainability high on many organisations’ agendas, particularly in light of the recent COP26 conference in Glasgow, UK businesses should consider both the environmental and financial benefits of taking their first steps on the road to net-zero.  Not only are many sustainability initiatives inexpensive, making more sustainable energy choices could also reduce costs and boost profit.

Dan Sullivan, Head of UK Sales at Gazprom Energy commented: “It is important that businesses understand that financial and sustainability priorities do not necessarily contradict each other – in fact, just the opposite. Sustainability initiatives can help to deliver profit and create new business opportunities.

“Taking a sustainable approach to energy usage by conducting an energy audit and implementing measures to improve efficiency can reduce energy costs while also helping businesses to achieve their sustainability goals. Whether the reasons are financial or ethical, the result is the same – a more sustainable organisation.

“Customers, employees and investors are expecting organisations to behave more sustainably, and by responding to the need for sustainable products and services, organisations have the power to create a foundation for sustainable profits.”

Advanced sustainable energy measures, such as onsite power generation, can reduce a business’s reliance on power from the grid, while measures such as power purchase agreements (PPAs) allow these organisations to sell excess power generated on site for a direct and regular financial return after the initial equipment outlay.

Sullivan added: “Though more substantial sustainability measures may take longer to deliver commercial returns, these should be viewed as investments organisations can make to demonstrate a long-term and proven commitment to sustainability. Businesses with ESG principles built into their long-term growth strategy can mitigate risk and drive profitable growth, whilst positively impacting the environment.”

Webinar – Waste & Biotechnology: How biotechnology is helping FMs achieve their sustainability goals and reduce waste.

FMJ & Advetec are on a mission to help FMs accelerate their NetZero plans – but it’s a process that must first start with lifting the blindfold, challenging the waste supply chain, being accountable and making great user of technology.

On the 26th January at 11am FMJ & Advetec are holding a webinar on how biotechnology can help FMs achieve their sustainability goals and reduce food waste.

FMJ Editor, Sara Bean, will be joined by:

  • Dr Stephen Wise, Chief Strategic Development Officer, Advetec
  • Rochelle Gee, Head of Property Services, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Ray Parmenter, CChem MRSC, MCIWM, CIWM: Head of Policy and Technical
  • Chris Havers, Programme Director Acclaro Advisory & SFMI

Together they will discuss:

  • The role of the circular economy in helping cut carbon emissions.
  • Challenges and opportunities for FMs in managing waste to meet environment, social and governance (ESG).
  • How the latest technology is available to help.

Click here to register.


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