UK companies missing out on business benefits of renewable power

Many UK companies want to support renewable electricity, but are confused by a “bewildering variety of costs and schemes which made it hard to be sure of the carbon content of what they were buying”, according to a report from Smartest Energy.

The report suggested that energy suppliers should produce a standardised and clear labelling system for energy supply, similar to the energy efficiency ratings for electrical appliances, to allow companies to easily understand the carbon cost of the energy they use.

The report said that 74 FTSE 100 companies have set emissions reduction targets, but only 38 purchased renewable electricity in 2015. The report said that switching to renewable energy was “surprisingly inexpensive”, adding just 1 per cent to energy bills, and had the following benefits:

  • Cuts carbon footprint quickly and cost-effectively as companies can now count the renewable electricity they purchase against their carbon targets and reported emissions
  • Builds investor confidence and supports company valuations
  • Helps win customers –  four out of five people are more likely to buy from a consumer brand with a positive approach to sustainability
  • Supports employee engagement on money saving energy efficiency programmes

Richard Tarboton, executive director of energy optimisation at EY, who was part of the Aldersgate Group team that came up with the Enable the Label electricity labelling schene, said: “Companies want to do the right thing but need clear solutions. Energy labelling, coupled with a greater awareness of the low cost and business benefits of renewable power, are set to take it mainstream. And the greater the demand from business the more we will see investment flow from fossil fuel generators to low-carbon renewables.”

Robert Groves, chief executive of Smartest Energy, said: “Smart companies should rethink their energy supply and understand the benefits that switching to renewables can bring to their business, to the economy, and to tackling the global threat of climate change.”

Read the full report: Business and the renewables revolution

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