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How sustainable businesses reduce their environmental impact

Reducing the negative impact on our planet is becoming an increasingly important consideration for businesses.

Pressure from customers to be more environmentally friendly, the rising demand for energy due to automation and digital transformation, and meeting ever-changing legislation are just some of the challenges facing organisations today.

However, those taking a balanced approach to sustainability are enjoying economic and environmental benefits, as well as superior growth prospects. We call these sustainable businesses.

So, what are these organisations doing differently when it comes to the environment, and how are they turning this into commercial success?

They have an environmental vision

Sustainable businesses are those that have a good understanding of their future energy requirements and are clear how this relates to the environment and their wider business strategy. They are implementing renewable energy sources and investing in innovative technologies, to drive efficiency in their future energy consumption and reduce their carbon footprint.

Forward-thinking businesses also demonstrate a better understanding of environmental laws and regulations, and they are putting plans in place to meet them -- writing them into their corporate and social responsibility policies, with clear, measurable targets for replacing non-renewable resources.

According to our most recent research, 49% of sustainable businesses are already meeting their emissions or environmental targets, and 55% have achieved compliance with regulation and legislation as a result.

Many are responding to increasing customer demand to be more environmentally-friendly too, with 73% of sustainable businesses accelerating plans to develop products and services that have greener credentials.

They take a long-term view

The sustainable business is thinking in detail about how it consumes energy now and in the future, with a focus on long-term energy solutions such as LED lighting, insulation and smart, data-led tools (eg. wireless sensors), that allow it to monitor and optimise energy consumption.

As companies become reliant on energy due to digitalisation, ongoing protection against power supply interruptions is business critical. Sustainable businesses are creating targets around resilience and building them into their wider energy and business strategies.

Of the sustainable businesses we interviewed:

  • 59% are systematically reviewing energy efficiency at all their sites
  • 51% are conducting continuous measurement of energy efficiency
  • 45% are transforming energy data into specific, actionable improvements

They are getting innovative

Greener forms of energy, such as solar, are providing opportunities for businesses to lower their carbon emissions, as well as helping to reduce costs and minimise risk. Sustainable businesses are also looking at the environmental and economic benefits of electric vehicles, such as reducing carbon emissions and saving on fuel costs. Our study found that half of fleet owners (49%) have at least one electric or hybrid vehicle.

How can your business become more environmentally-friendly?

If you would like help managing your environmental impact, the team at Centrica Business Solutions are here to help.

Download our full report here to learn more about the outcomes of our research, and get practical advice on the steps that are right for your business.