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Responding to the spread of coronavirus – Message from our Managing Director

How implementing green energy innovations could boost your brand

Our research shows that using low-carbon energy solutions can improve your reputation – helping make the case for green innovation.

In business, it’s often said that reputation is slowly built, but quickly lost. That’s why, as a successful company, it’s vital to take a strategic view of your brand – to avoid the damage that can result from being on the wrong side of fast-moving public debates.

Globally, there are few issues currently being debated more than the environment and climate change. In response, many organisations are looking to implement technical green innovations - including battery storage, renewable energy and electrical vehicles – as well as less tangible innovations, such as reshaping business strategies to more closely reflect environmental concerns.

When you’re considering investing in any of these approaches, it’s vital to understand the wider implications they may have on your business – both positive and negative.

In particular, it’s clear they can have a significant impact on how your brand is perceived by customers and shareholders . Our recent report, Distributed Energy Future Trends, shows that decision-makers recognise that green energy solutions result in reputational benefits for businesses.

According to the research, as many as 30% of companies say that investing in energy technology directly results in better company reputation – up from 24% in 2017. That’s a big rise in just two years, and shows that energy technology, increases in environmental responsibilities as an organisational priority, and brand perception are closely linked.

Strategy linked to brand

In response, in the past year alone, 36% of the businesses we surveyed changed their brand position to be more environmentally friendly. This shows they understand the importance of demonstrating sustainability credentials.

Of course, to be effective in the long term, any change in brand positioning should be genuine. Customers, employees, commentators and regulators are all rightly suspicious of ‘greenwashing’, and their perception of your brand may be different from the crafted positions you take.

This means that, ideally, the drive toward sustainability should be strategic – with a combination of economic and environmental drivers the focus for success. Indeed, our survey shows that 86% of companies think ‘sustainability’ has both economic and environmental dimensions. It’s clear that organisations cannot simply talk about the importance of environmental responsibility – their words need to be backed up by clear and decisive action.

There are signs that this is happening. In fact, social and environmental responsibility is steadily rising up the strategic corporate agenda, and our research found that the only two factors are considered more important: efficiency and financial performance. What’s more, the fourth most-important item on the corporate agenda was reported to be compliance with legislation and regulation - which is, in itself, a critical part of reputation management.

Practical impacts on stakeholders

Investing in innovative energy technologies can have an indirect impact on your brand, too. According to our research, the issue of energy security and resilience is now a top-four risk for companies. It’s easy to see how a power failure at a critical site or data centre could cause damage to your brand. Yet solutions such as solar or battery storage could mitigate these issues, as part of a sustainable energy strategy. This will keep you ‘always on’ and safeguarded from commercial, regulatory and market risks.

Organisations with strong future growth prospects are those that have a clear strategy for how energy can contribute to their company values. In fact, one-third of organisations who expect their annual revenue to grow by over 20% in the next five years have made a clear link between sustainable energy use and their brand image and company values.

Download the Distributed Energy Future Trends report to find out more about how we can help you to become a more sustainable business, to enable a positive impact on your organisational competitiveness, environmental credentials, brand perception, and carbon emissions.

Find out how green innovations can help you to solve business challenges

Sources: *Distributed Energy Future Trends Report - Centrica Business Solutions research, statistics based on a ten country survey of more than 1,500 energy decision-makers in large organisations.