Going the distance to benefit from a long-term, sustainable business strategy

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The journey to energy sustainability is a marathon - not a sprint. Those organisations that are in it for the distance and take a strategic, long-term approach to positive energy management are winning, writes Centrica's Insights Manager Maxine Cook

Having led our extensive two-year Energy Advantage research on sustainable energy leadership, I've gained some deep insights into the characteristics of these organisations and the rewards they accrue.

This international study shows that those organisations which are furthest on the journey to energy sustainability have more growth potential, greater financial success and energy resilience, lower energy and operational costs and a better reputation. They are among a select few (18 per cent of organisations) who view energy as an opportunity rather than a cost.

Future-proofing energy

These sustainable energy leaders recognise that it's essential to future-proof their energy needs. They realise that energy resilience is not simply about keeping the lights on and managing business continuity in the short term; it's about protecting against increasing energy uncertainty in the long-run.

Acceleration of digitisation and automation means that power is mission critical for more and more organisations, but with opportunity comes the growing risk of power supply disruption. This isn't deterring sustainable businesses from taking the lead on digital innovation. They actively manage risk by planning ahead to secure the necessary power infrastructure and capacity and are much better prepared for the worst than their competitors.

By creating detailed energy resilience plans and setting targets, these businesses are reducing and stabilising volatile energy costs, while also mitigating risk. You can learn more in our new report: Future-proofing your company's energy needs.

Meeting stakeholder demands

Improving business sustainability is driven by a need to manage costs and risk, but stakeholder demand is also a powerful motivator. Organisations face growing pressure from customers, employees and investors to demonstrate environmental responsibility. Those who take a holistic, long-term view to energy management also tend to be more customer-centric and understand the necessity to satisfy stakeholder expectations by embedding sustainability throughout their operations.

Exploiting distributed energy technologies

Digitisation and automation are also revolutionising the decentralising energy sector and sustainable energy businesses are better at exploiting these technological opportunities.

They are:

  • Almost twice as likely to invest in key energy technologies
  • More than twice as likely to implement low hanging fruit such as energy efficiency measures
  • Almost twice as likely to use smart distributed energy solutions, such as battery storage and wireless sensors, and to deploy on site generation
  • More receptive to exploiting future technologies, such as vehicle-to-grid, artificial intelligence and machine learning

Expert support

Sustainable businesses recognise that they must collaborate with energy experts to implement revolutionary new ways of managing and consuming energy.

Centrica Business Solutions provides the energy expertise and innovative distributed energy solutions to help organisations take a more strategic, long-term and integrated approach to energy. In this way, we ensure that they thrive as sustainable businesses - gaining added value from energy to power performance and resilience.

Find out more about how Centrica Business Solutions can support your long term sustainable business strategy and download our new energy resilience report at: www.centricabusinesssolutions.com/resilience.

Maxine Cook is insights manager at Centrica Business Solutions

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