Re-thinking energy: enabling sustainable business growth

A lot can change in two years. When we first ran our research in 2017, sustainability was not high on the corporate agenda. Now, as revealed by our most recent research, it most certainly is. Today’s consumers, shareholders and governments are demanding that businesses take responsibility for their carbon emissions, and work toward a low carbon future. Carbon intensive energy is being identified as a major issue, and moving to low carbon alternatives as well as adopting energy monitoring and efficiency measures, is now recognised as part of the solution.

As a result, an increasing number of businesses are changing their legacy thinking around energy and making a direct link between their business and energy strategies, seeing it as a strategic asset to be managed for competitive advantage, and not just a cost. These forward-thinking businesses are placing energy sustainability at the heart of their organisation.

At the same time, the number and range of risks encountered by businesses is increasing rapidly—from cybercrime, to disrupted business models, natural disasters, energy security and resilience, and new regulations. In response, many businesses are pushing ahead strongly with digitalisation and business transformation of their customer and business operations. This, in turn, is increasing their reliance on energy.

When we compare this year’s research with that from two years ago, we also see a distinct shift in business’ priorities. The majority continue to focus largely on efficiency and financial performance. But being socially and environmentally responsible is now a top three priority for organisations.

However, just one in eight organisations believe they are balancing these economic and environmental challenges well today. We refer to these as “sustainable businesses”. While many businesses are making significant progress, a large percentage are at the start of their journey. Our research indicates organisations that prioritise business sustainability by aligning their energy plan in the context of their wider business strategy have superior growth prospects, reduced costs and improved brand reputation.

In our report we share the most significant results from our research and introduce our Sustainable Business model. We outline the key characteristics and action points to become a sustainable business, and how energy can help prepare businesses for a more commercially and environmentally sustainable future.

Read Centrica’s full report here

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