The perfect storm of Covid and Brexit is continuing to shape the business landscape in a whole new way. Simultaneously, the green agenda is gathering momentum with some businesses showing incredible dedication and blazing a trail for others to follow as we all look to minimise our impact on the planet.
In the face of economic challenges, logistical difficulties and the ongoing pandemic-fuelled uncertainty, businesses are also looking at ways to improve their performance, whether that’s through automation, retention of talent through flexible working practices, improving working environments or perhaps through rethinking their own business models.
From purpose to performance, mental wellbeing to inclusivity, The Business Exchange has asked for your insights on 8 Business Trends for 2022. We are sharing these as a series of eight articles between now and the beginning of the New Year. Here we take a look at trend number four.
Thinking green is fast becoming an integral part of business plans for many organisations. From environmentally friendly supply chains to sustainable office practices, accreditation to insulation, employers and employees are approaching business with a new mindset.
Nick Spicer, Managing Director of solar technology installation specialists Your Eco UK, explains his views on a green approach to business.
“It is the path we are all heading down, be it through our own choice or policy. The net zero target has been set and we will all have to play our role in getting there as part of the overarching UK strategy.
“The importance at a morale level is that we must all play our part in the fight against climate change, however at a business and operational level then we must always innovate and move with the times to prevent being left behind, as history has always shown us. By embracing a green approach there is much more to be realised from a positive disposition as opposed to it being seen as forced.
“In terms of where to start, it is important to not get overwhelmed and to take things one step at a time. With this being part of a journey, more will become apparent as you move down the path and that will help inform decision making and develop a strategy.
“First of all, the easiest option is to look at the energy you buy, be that heat or power, and understand what value that is, what risk that represents to your business and what can be done about it. If you use electricity for instance and you have a business premises, then solar is always an easy start with compelling returns. In the same vein with heating, the returns from air source heat pumps are also compelling.
“I am proud to say that we are carbon neutral as a business (in fact net zero). We work from a completely off-grid and self-sufficient office space and warehouse and all of the emissions that we as a business and our operatives emit are then offset through www.reduceourcarbon.org
“The green agenda is a trend for 2022 due to a perfect storm of sharp energy price increases with an unsettled outlook, combined with wider business financial concerns and the issues highlighted by COP alongside the government focus on net zero targets.”
Finally, on the subject of ‘going green’ being perceived as an expensive exercise:
“I think the perception is outdated but I am cognisant that there is a cost to going green albeit there is a financial return that underpins it and provides a ROI.
“The key I believe is looking at ways of financing projects and maximising the most of your capital allowance when looking at this expenditure. For many of our clients, asset finance is chosen as the preferred way for delivering low carbon projects such as solar as it enables a small deposit to be paid with the balance then funded over the assets initial payback period before moving into profitability.
“The other side of this is also asking the question as to what opportunities there are for your business by going green with your client base, plus in turn then evaluating what happens and the risk of not.
“We sense that with more ethical and sustainable sourcing that there is a premium to be paid but that this has to be clearly articulated as part of one’s value proposition and followed through on, as opposed to being viewed as a tick box approach.”