Pathway to sustainable business growth | Centrica Business Solutions

Pathway to sustainable business growth

In challenging times, the key to future-proofing your business is to balance commercial success with environmental responsibility.

Despite the recent global pandemic and disruption, it is reassuring that the momentum towards carbon reduction continues to be strong. Some of the world’s best-known brands and CEOs say they remain committed to the plans for net zero that they had put in place previously. Far from reducing the ambition, COVID-19 has created a groundswell of interest from the public, investors and shareholders that is exerting pressure on businesses to maintain the pace of change.

However, there are still a lot of challenges ahead for businesses that are blocking success. Below, we have outlined some of the frequently asked questions around carbon reduction and provided answers to help accelerate your journey toward net zero.

What is net zero?

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges the world faces today. In response, all organizations have a critical role to play in decarbonizing their operations and supply chain, so the world can achieve net zero carbon emissions – where the total emissions produced and removed from the environment is kept in balance.

Smarter, greener and more flexible energy will play a critical role in enabling organizations to reach net zero by improving visibility and management over their energy infrastructure. Many organizations have already set a decarbonization target – yet very few organizations have worked out precisely how to deliver on this difficult goal. Nonetheless, organizations that harness the latest energy technologies to help reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and achieve carbon neutrality will reap the benefits – including improved profitability, enhanced brand reputation and greater business resilience.

Whether you still need to agree a carbon reduction strategy or you’re in the process of delivering your commitments, our video can introduce you to some of the steps you can take to harness net zero energy and build a truly sustainable business.

Why is sustainability an important goal for business?

Consumers, shareholders, investors and employees are demanding that organizations act on climate change – by reducing carbon in their operations and improving their long-term business sustainability. Governments have accelerated this urgency through new legislation and regulations that require organizations to move toward a low-carbon future.

Sustainable business success relies on moving away from carbon intensive energy toward lower carbon alternatives that are underpinned by energy monitoring, efficiency and optimization. Organizations that view energy as a strategic asset, rather than a cost, continue to outperform their competition – and implementing more advanced energy solutions that drive sustainability can help improve operational efficiency, better control business risk, improve resilience and drive enhanced financial performance.

Against an increasingly complex energy landscape, our Distributed Energy Future Trends report explores the importance of sustainability and the steps organizations should take to prepare for a more commercially and environmentally sustainable future. Drawing on interviews with over 1,500 energy decision makers from around the world, the report outlines why sustainability is critical to business success and provides recommendations for organizations on how to accelerate energy transformation.

How do I become a sustainable business?

Business sustainability relies on finding the right balance between economic and environmental considerations. Organizations cannot focus exclusively on profit without considering their environmental impact – equally, they would be left without a viable business model if they prioritized environmental concerns over financial performance.

Businesses are changing the way they view energy and the role it plays in their organization. Yet our research has found that only 13% of organizations are truly sustainable businesses and are striking the right balance between financial performance and environmental policies.  

To guide organizations down the right path, we created the Sustainable Business Model with input from influential analysts and business leaders. The model identifies eight characteristics of business success. Six of these traits have a direct impact on the way energy is acquired, consumed and managed; while the remaining two impact how effectively energy is integrated into the wider business strategy. The most sustainable businesses won’t just possess these eight characteristics: they will continuously execute them in an environmentally and economically balanced manner in order to drive long-term business success.

How do I build an effective carbon reduction strategy?

Reducing your carbon footprint requires a comprehensive energy strategy that combines long-term targets to set the direction and pace of change, with near-term goals, senior leadership support and ongoing collaboration to ensure your organization realizes your pathway to a low carbon future.

If you’re just beginning your decarbonization journey, our infographic will help you set the right foundations for an effective sustainability strategy – to enable you to reduce your carbon emissions and achieve your net zero energy goals.

The infographic outlines different methodologies for setting long-term decarbonization targets that are aligned with recognized standards and underpinned by near-term goals to establish immediate accountability for their progression. Behind any successful carbon reduction strategy is a fully engaged c-suite executive, therefore the infographic makes recommendations on how you can gain and maintain this level of support by ensuring there is harmony between carbon reduction goals and your wider commercial objectives. Since carbon reduction strategies must also be collaborative, the infographic also suggests how you can turn your targets into action through collaboration and engagement with different individuals, teams and functions across the business.

Turn ambitious sustainability targets into action

Examples of companies building a sustainable business

When it comes to sustainability, all businesses are maturing at a different pace, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach for reducing carbon footprints in business. We’re proud to partner with organizations around the world to help them make the transition to a low carbon future. Through our Responsible Business Ambitions, we have made clear commitments to reduce our customers’ emissions, help them to build sustainable businesses, and enable the decarbonization of energy systems by harnessing flexible distributed and low carbon technology.

We also recognize that we have an important role to play in reducing our own emissions, too. Centrica plc has committed to be net zero by 2050, and we have already reduced our internal carbon footprint by 39% – exceeding our target of a 35% reduction by 2025.

In a recent video, James Rushen, Group Head of Environment at Centrica, outlines how we’re shaping a low carbon future, both within our own business and on behalf of our customers. He explores the steps we are taking to reduce our carbon footprint and build a sustainable business. He also provides insight into our move from being an asset-based business to a customer-focused services and solutions provider – and explains how this has enabled us to emit significantly less carbon than we used to.

What energy solutions help companies reduce their carbon footprint?

Organizations that want to effectively reduce their carbon footprint must consider how they can take a smarter, more holistic approach to energy acquisition, consumption and management. Taking advantage of new technologies and modern energy strategies can accelerate your sustainability journey and help you make essential progress in reducing carbon emissions.  

Centrica Business Solutions can support your organization in identifying, deploying and managing a wide range of distributed energy solutions and services. Our experts can help you select the right energy solutions that accelerate your carbon reduction plan and improve business performance, including solar and storage, efficiency services, EV enablement, energy optimization, energy insights, and more.

We also recognize that new technologies are constantly being developed that can help businesses reach net zero, including hydrogen infrastructure, electrification, energy digitalization, and more. That’s why we continuously investigate, evaluate and deploy new energy technologies to future-proof your sustainable energy strategy and keep you ahead of the curve in reducing your carbon footprint. Visit our business sustainability page to learn more about how our energy solutions can help you realize your pathway to net zero.

Interested in how you can start your decarbonization journey? Speak to our experts.