Only one in eight businesses can be classified as “‘sustainable” in 2019, according to new research from distributed energy company Centrica Business Solutions.
The research, based on a global survey of more than 1,500 businesses, suggests that while the vast majority of respondents don’t yet meet their sustainability criteria, doing so should be a major priority.
In fact, being “socially and environmentally responsible” is now a top three business priority for a large proportion of surveyed businesses, ahead of innovation.
This is a big change from a similar survey conducted two years ago by Centrica Business Solutions, where environmental responsibility ranked a low sixth on respondents’ priorities.
Why the shift?
According to the research, businesses are reporting increased pressure from customers and stakeholders to be more sustainable and environmentally responsible. Customers are exercising their power through their purchasing habits, and organizations are responding by developing products and services that are demonstrably more environmentally-friendly, and also looking for low-carbon energy solutions.
Simultaneously, the challenges and risks facing today’s businesses are increasing. Current business models are under threat, natural disasters continue to grow in frequency, and impact and compliance breaches are escalating. To safeguard against these risks, businesses are pursuing a range of digitalization and business transformation efforts. These initiatives are increasing businesses’ reliance upon energy, necessitating the search for more sustainable, affordable, and resilient options.
What does it take to be sustainable?
Working with influential analysts and business leaders, Centrica Business Solutions has compiled a Sustainable Business Model, which defines eight distinct characteristics of businesses that are successfully balancing their economic and environmental priorities.
Although many businesses are making good progress in some areas, the research indicates only a small number are meeting all of these characteristics, and suggests much more can be done.
What can be done?
According to Centrica Business Solutions, the way organizations generate and consume energy can have a significant impact on their overall sustainability profile. By choosing more efficient, resilient, and flexible energy options, businesses can be more agile, customer focused and innovative. They can also actively work toward improving the environment, and show evidence of sound, long-term thinking.
Interestingly, this smart approach to energy is already on the radar for 70% of businesses, which recognize they need to be more flexible in terms of how they generate and use energy. Changing views are also leading to a 10% increase in businesses choosing energy efficient solutions. This is paving the way for investment in smart, technology-led energy.
What steps should businesses take next?
Many organisations need to re-think their strategies to reflect these market changes and their attitude to energy to make a direct link between their business and energy strategies. The most successful businesses give a member of the leadership team responsibility for their energy strategy, roadmap and plan, including specific/measurable targets and budget. The most sustainable businesses are energy leaders with a mature approach to energy, viewing it as a strategic asset and an opportunity, not just a cost.
Contact us or read the full research report to find out where your company is on its sustainability journey.
This post was created by Centrica Business Solutions with Insider Studios.
Create your own user feedback survey