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

Risks of not progressing your sustainability journey

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

All organizations must pay close attention to risk. From financial viability to cyber attacks, it’s vital to understand and prepare for the forces that can disrupt the market and derail long-term sustainability – so businesses 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 United Nations 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, United Nations Secretary-General

Many organizations are already exploring what they can do to make a difference. They know that significant organizational, reputational and financial benefits can be gained by improving their environmental 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 organizations are implementing the most sophisticated technological innovations that could really accelerate their journey to net zero, such as smart energy management and on-site generation. In fact, just 18% of organizations see energy as an asset to be managed, in order to generate competitive advantage.

It’s important that organizations consider the strategic benefits of implementing the latest sustainable energy innovations. But perhaps even more importantly, they also need to recognize 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 energy resilience, 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, one that 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 organization. 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 sustainable 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, organizations may not be safeguarding themselves as fully as they could against the catastrophic consequences 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 sustainable energy innovations. From artificial intelligence to digitalized energy management solutions – low-carbon technologies can create new opportunities for businesses to monetize their power assets and improve their brand reputation. What’s more, organizations that look at their strategy anew and consider how they can join their energy technologies together can maximize their commercial benefits and return on investment. It’s clear that organizations who embrace sustainable energy 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

Organizations that aggressively pursue digitalization 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 digitalization initiative.

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

The latest sustainable energy innovations can support this initiative by providing organizations with the insight they need to make more intelligent decisions about their energy strategy in a digital world. But organizations 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 sustainable energy 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 environmental and sustainability ambitions. Download our guide to find out more about how we can help you invest in sustainable energy innovations that will solve business challenges and deliver tangible results.

Find out how sustainable energy 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 organizations.