Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is no longer a tick box exercise. Organisations that are particularly discerning about environmental issues may choose whether or not to do business with you based on your green credentials. Similarly, if you are looking to engage with younger job seekers/ prospective employees, but lack a visible commitment to CSR, you may find that it’s a struggle to entice them to work for you. According to a survey which canvassed “millennials” (those born between 1981 and 1996), 62% said they want to work for a company that makes a positive impact.
In this day and age, it’s important that your business does more than simply make sure that documents are printed on recycled paper. Failure to step up your “green” activity may have a negative impact on your business’ bottom line and its ability to recruit and expand.
One way to realise your ethical business ambitions is to review your business’ energy strategy but unfortunately, this is not a matter that many businesses take seriously. A recent energy report by ‘the energyst’ showed that only 4% of commercial and industrial companies deemed environmental concerns to be important when buying energy.
Our 5 steps to boosting your business’ green appeal go some way to help change this approach:
Step 1: Consider the size and scope of your business’ energy commitment
The provision of renewable and low carbon energy sources has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years. There are now so many different ways to produce energy, each with an argument for and against that particular choice. The amount of power you require and the level of investment available to you will differ for each business and it's important to take this into consideration.
Step 2: Think about what your CSR statement will say
You and your management team should think carefully about what your CSR requirements are and how your energy strategy fits into your CSR statement. Will you pledge to reduce energy consumption, lower carbon emissions or go as far as to commit to switching to a renewable energy provider?
Step 3: Do your research and speak to the experts
Thought should be given to the way that your energy supply is generated. If your CSR policy is to centre around reducing carbon emissions then choosing a nuclear energy supplier would be a viable option. This energy source currently has the lowest carbon emissions and is the go-to source of energy for a low carbon future. However, if you choose to go down the renewable route our experts can advise on the right source for your business.
Step 4: Choose a solution that is right for your business
Whilst there are many energy solutions that will help to boost your green credentials it's important to make sure that whichever route you go down is the best way forward for your business. Whilst it's very commendable to commit to using solely renewable energy, it may be that this will not provide sufficient power to your business. Many of the larger energy suppliers now have a certain amount of renewable energy so this could be a possible compromise. Smaller businesses may not have the budget to invest in renewable projects (E.g. installing PV), therefore simple, efficient solutions such as switching to LED lighting or replacing windows with high spec double glazing could be advantageous.
Step 5: Shout it from the rooftops
Once you have decided on your business' level of commitment to the environment, publishing your CSR statement on your website is a cost-effective way to announce it to the outside world. Additionally, a PR strategy will help to boost your reputation both locally and nationally. If you want to take this one step further you could consider applying for carbon efficient accreditations and/ or a environmental standards badge.
What are the benefits?
A solid company policy on environmental issues not only helps to broaden your recruitment pool and open up your supplier network and customer base but also helps to underpin a commitment to professionalism and good practice, raise the profile of your organisation among influencers within your sector and increase your business’ competitive advantage. By opting for an ethical and environmentally friendly approach to purchasing energy you demonstrate that you insist on high standards. This can only reflect positively on your business.