Over the past few years, businesses have been getting to grips with their environmental impact, as sustainability has moved from being a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’.
The government has pledged to decarbonise all sectors of the UK economy to reach its net zero target by 2050. Through this and public demand, businesses will be expected to reduce their environmental impact more and more over the coming years.
But what are the benefits to businesses of going greener, aside from the satisfaction of knowing that they are reducing their carbon footprint? You might be surprised to learn that there are a number of financial incentives, from reducing your energy bills to stealing a march on the competition, that can be used to your advantage.
It may seem counterintuitive on the face of it, but investing in green technology can save you money and lower your business costs in the long run.
Relatively low cost swaps like only using LED light bulbs and improving insulation can help to shave money off your energy bills which can add up to significant savings over time.
Meanwhile more substantial investments such as installing solar panels can pay for themselves over a few years and dramatically reduce the amount you shell out for energy.
With energy bills more than doubling over the last year, now is the time to invest in green technology to ensure your business is less at risk of any future volatility.
With 82% of shoppers wanting brands to embrace sustainability, going green can help you stand out from the crowd and gain customers who are increasingly concerned about the carbon footprint of their purchases and that of their service providers. Additionally, we are seeing more and more businesses who supply major companies, such as farming businesses that supply produce to major supermarkets, facing pressure to evidence their sustainable credentials.
If your business has an eco focus as its primary purpose then the benefits to customers and clients will be clear, but if your product or service is not necessarily linked to the environment, then it will be important to communicate your sustainability credentials effectively in order to benefit. This can be done easily on your company website, social media and product packaging.
Furthermore, reducing the environmental impact of your business can also help to attract employees. A recent survey by KPMG UK found that a third of young people have turned down a job offer due to the employer’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) commitments not being in line with their values.
In seeking to capitalise on this however, you should be mindful that you are not simply ‘greenwashing’ and only taking actions that look good but lack real impact as this can be quickly spotted and called out by savvy consumers.
Alongside the financial benefits, focusing on sustainability helps you to stay on top of increasing regulatory requirements as well.
The Environment Act 2021 means companies now have a bigger responsibility around eliminating deforestation. Businesses are required to implement due diligence systems for all forest risk commodities in their supply chains.
In November 2023, the Biodiversity Net Gain Act will come into force, requiring all new building developments to achieve a biodiversity net gain of at least 10%. Developers will need to get up to speed with the new regulations and ensure they have a plan to enhance biodiversity on their sites, or in local areas. Find out more about the Biodiversity Net Gain Act in our write-up of our recent Farming Matters event.
Various environmental and sustainability reporting requirements have been implemented in the UK in recent years, such as Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR), and more are expected to be introduced in 2023, including mandatory requirements for certain companies to publish net zero transition plans. Keeping on top of the requirements for your particular sector will be crucial.
If you need help with sustainability and the regulatory requirements around the environment, contact our team and we’ll be happy to help.