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Sustainable and reliable: customers want both

Your customers want you to boost your sustainability credentials – but they don’t want this to come at the expense of their everyday needs. How can organizations strike the balance between these two priorities?

From single-use plastics, to air quality, to carbon emissions: customers are voting with their wallets and increasingly want to buy from businesses who share their environmental values.

What does this mean for organizations? It means that there is no longer a choice between good business sense and becoming a more sustainable business: they’re two sides of the same coin.

In fact, according to our Distributed Energy Future Trends research, more than two-thirds of organizations (70%) agree that it won’t be government intervention that will be the main agent of sustainable change. It will be market demand. After all, customer demand is a critical driver for shareholders. So, as customer preferences change, so too will the expectations of shareholders.

At Centrica Business Solutions, we recently created a model of what a ‘sustainable business’ looks like. With inputs from business leaders and analysts, this model identified eight characteristics that help define what makes a business sustainable. One of them is having a relentless customer focus.

When we compared businesses who had a ‘relentless customer focus’ with other businesses, the results were striking:

To put it another way, customer-focused businesses are more likely to be putting sustainability-related action plans in place – due, at least in part, to the fact that they recognize what their customers want.

The importance of business continuity

More than half of organizations (56%) say environmentally-friendly products and services are ‘very influential’ factors in their customers’ decision making processes. Implementing the latest low-carbon technologies and innovations can help organizations to meet this need.

However, environmental credentials aren’t the only thing that concerns customers, and so it cannot be organizations’ only focus. Having a secure supply of resources and key materials is viewed as equally important and was identified by 57% of organizations as being very influential to their customers.

While customers want to work with organizations that are sustainable and environmentally-friendly, they don’t want to compromise on quality and want to enjoy an uninterrupted service at all times.

When new sustainable energy innovations emerge, it would be easy to just focus on the ways in which they can boost your environmental credentials. But in order to fully meet the needs of customers, it’s important to also consider if (and how) they will enable you to meet your direct customer obligations, too.

Take Electric Vehicles as an example. It’s easy to see the positive environmental impact that can be achieved by making the move away from gas and diesel engines. However, if organizations do not address their power supply needs when they install EV charging, they may find it difficult to protect the uninterrupted operation of EV infrastructure, and costs can be impacted, too. Undoubtedly, this could impact their ability to serve their customers.

At Centrica Business Solutions, we can help. We provide the expert advice, insights and carbon-reducing technologies that enable organizations to harness more innovative energy practices, address sustainability challenges, and secure competitive advantage. We can help you progress your journey towards becoming a more sustainable business, while making sure you’re always equipped to deliver against customer expectations.

Find out more about how we can help you invest in sustainable energy innovations that will solve business challenges and deliver tangible results.

How can sustainable energy innovations help you 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.