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

Risks of not progressing green journeys

With environmental and economic sustainability at the heart of the corporate agenda, organisations face a range of risks if they fail to make progress

All organisations must pay close attention to risk. From financial viability to cyber-attacks, it’s vital they understand and prepare for the forces that can disrupt the market and derail long-term sustainability – so they can survive in a fast-changing world.

Of all the risks that could affect a business’s long-term future, climate change is becoming one of the most urgent and complex. The UN warns that changing climate is disrupting national economies – and that accelerated action is needed to reduce emissions.

I want to hear about how we are going to stop the increase in emissions by 2020, and dramatically reduce emissions to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century
António Guterres UN Secretary-General

Many organisations are already exploring what they can do to make a difference. They know that significant organisational, reputational and financial benefits can be gained by improving their green credentials.

That said, our Distributed Energy Future Trends report found most businesses are investing in initiatives that we’d consider to be ‘low-hanging fruit’. Few organisations are implementing the most sophisticated technological innovations that could really accelerate their journey to net zero, such as smart energy management, on-site generation and electric vehicles. In fact, our research found that just 18% of organisations* see energy as an asset to be managed, in order to generate competitive advantage.

It’s important that organisations consider the strategic benefits of implementing the latest green innovations. But perhaps even more importantly, they also need to recognise the risks they face if they don’t implement these innovations. Here are a few of the top concerns:

Energy security

As the world moves to low-carbon energy sources, making sure that you have continuity of supply is vital. Business leaders acknowledge the importance of this, which is why they rank energy security as being a top-three risk to their operations.

It’s important to have a detailed energy strategy, which puts targets around energy resilience. Currently, only half of businesses that we’d consider to be ‘sustainable’ have an energy strategy that details how they will become a low-carbon organisation. With other businesses, the figure falls to just 24%. Clearly, there is scope for businesses to push ahead in this area.

Having a plan is just the first step, though. It’s also important to consider implementing green energy innovations, which can help to reduce reliance on the grid and provide additional security in the event of a power failure. Without harnessing the latest innovations, organisations may not be safeguarding themselves as fully as they could against the potential ramifications of power loss.

Innovation is good for business

In today’s economy, no company can afford to stand still. It’s important to keep moving forward and improve the products and services you deliver to your customers. Continuous innovation is good for business, and often creates new opportunities that can enhance the way your business operates.

This is certainly true of green innovations. From artificial intelligence to digitalised energy management solutions – green technologies can create new opportunities for businesses to monetise their power assets and improve their brand reputation. What’s more, organisations that look at their strategy anew and consider how they can join their energy technologies together can maximise their commercial benefits and return on investment. It’s clear that organisations who embrace green innovations can gain competitive advantage – and those businesses that fail to harness these new opportunities risk being left behind.

Preparing for a more digital world

Organisations that aggressively pursue digitalisation are expected to grow the most in the next five years. But companies that are truly future-focused don’t just introduce new digital platforms and technologies on a whim – they consider their wider implications, including the energy requirements of each digitalisation initiative.

In our transformed world, new strategies are required to understand precisely where, how and when energy is being used across your organisation. By monitoring, managing and aggregating all available energy assets, including energy demand and usage, organisations can ensure they generate and consume power in the most efficient way.

Latest green innovations can support with this. They can provide organisations with the insight they need to make more intelligent decisions about their energy strategy in a digital world. But organisations that don’t embrace these innovations may lack these insights and could run the risk of wasting energy and money. And this may snowball, as more and more digital technologies are embraced.

Futureproofing your operations

Businesses that clearly define their energy strategy and invest in the latest green innovations will find themselves in the best position to meet their environmental targets, gain competitive advantage, and futureproof their operations. Companies that do not embrace the latest energy technologies may find themselves at a disadvantage in a competitive market.

With businesses maturing at different paces, it will take strategic planning to accelerate green ambitions. Find out more about how we can help you invest in green innovations that will solve business challenges and deliver tangible results.

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.