Rising costs remain top of the energy agenda
- But businesses still grappling with overcoming challenges in the boardroom
24 April 2014
As the importance of sustainability grows, a poll conducted by BSI, the business standards company, has found that 44% of sustainability experts believe that until energy management impacts the bottom line it will not advance to the top of the corporate agenda.
The poll carried out at Sustainability Live, investigated what businesses are doing to manage their energy consumption in an uncertain energy market. It found the biggest concern for many organizations in regard to energy was rising costs (77%), followed by the increased risk of blackouts (12%), and risk of reputational damage (12%).
Effective cost management is important to every business, but interestingly many organizations are still grappling with how to progress energy management programmes with top management. With 37% citing the lack of awareness by senior management on the merits of an energy management system and the initial costs of implementing an energy management system (32%) as their key challenges.
”We know organizations are looking at three areas of savings to improve their bottom line - water, energy and waste. By embedding energy management into all aspects of business you will be able to establish, monitor and spot anomalies in your energy consumption, helping to predict future consumption and improve waste management,”said Mark Gouldstone, Sustainability Management Expert at BSI.
“If you are a sustainable business it will drive top line growth and other organizations will want to work with you, increasing your tender opportunities. Our customers have told us that ISO 50001 has not only driven direct costs savings but also improved employee morale and enhanced their reputation.”
Sustainability standards provide more opportunities to qualify for tenders, with the results showing 82% of organizations are increasingly being asked to comply with standards when tendering for new business. Compliance is not required by law, however over half (59%) of organizations have noticed an increase in the number of companies requesting compliance to ISO 14001 the environmental management system standard, followed by ISO 50001 (23%).
Risk of blackouts
As the UK faces its greatest risk of blackouts for a generation, unsurprisingly almost 9 in 10 (89%) businesses polled were concerned about rising energy costs. Yet, nearly one in five organizations are still failing to take action to reduce their energy usage. Those who have started to take steps to reduce their consumption at work have done so by carrying out their own energy audits (57%), followed by implementing an energy management system (41%), and starting to using smart meters to measure energy (30%).
Remarkably, although homeowners have been encouraged to reduce their energy consumption at home, 94% of organizations have not been targeted or incentivised by energy companies to take action in the workplace.
Mark Gouldstone continued: “Although the majority of organizations have taken steps to reduce their energy usage, more still has to be done. Learning more about energy usage can not only drive cost savings but also help better procure energy. One BSI client has told us that by moving away from fixed contracts and arranging flexible agreements they have changed the way they buy power. Organizations that know how they consume their energy can better manage and procure their energy.”
* This research was based on a poll of 64 attendees at Sustainability Live 2014