This quarter of the year has seen me air my thoughts on a range of topics I believe are important to every business if they want to see success.
The planet is dying – from the demise of the Great Barrier Reef to the erratic weather causing snowstorms in May, so the impetus to act is about more than financial gain. Nevertheless, businesses in the UK and abroad need to operate in an eco-conscious way if they want to survive in what will quickly become a low carbon economy. If you’ve had questions as to how – or even still ‘why?’ then I’d like to run my highlighter over some particularly pertinent points…
· In June, I kicked off a dialogue about the ‘third way’. The Third Way is an acknowledgement that in order to release less CO2 into the atmosphere, you simply have to use less energy. Clean tech is an easy way to achieve this as an Energy Management System (EMS) monitors, controls and conserves energy in a building and it can be set up to deliver year on year savings without disrupting the workforce in the delivery of their duties.
· When Brexit hit, the message was simple: Change is sudden but temporary; the damage we do to the environment is permanent.
· In or out of the EU, we are on the planet and will continue to fight for it. UK industry can still achieve considerable reductions in our carbon footprint by inputting behavioural changes and low carbon technologies.
· Our 25th anniversary prompted us to take stock of how far we’ve grown and where we’re going. The priority of any CEO should be the mental and physical health of your employees because they are crucial to the success of the organisation.
· In July, mainstream broadsheets announced a disturbing fact that links air pollution to the start of mental health problems in those inhaling the toxicity. We’re expected to remain silent when Government reports linking air pollution and mental health problems in children are left unpublished, or when oil companies lie about their CO2 emissions but doing more than what’s expected is so much more gratifying.
· To further prove the point of cabinet apathy, Theresa May scrapped The Department for Energy and Climate Change. When scientists and economists are ignored in all of their expertise, you have to wonder how this is justifiable.
· Shortly after this, gas prices rose to a 12 month high and energy efficiency had never been more lucrative to save on our energy bills.
· There’s a four letter word that has been the bane of the business world since 2014: ESOS. I couldn’t hold back my feelings on the pointless audit and offered simple solutions such as incentivising energy efficiency. Germany lead by a good example as the government gives out tax breaks to companies who achieve ISO 50001 so companies are empowered to act environmentally. Perhaps we should follow in their footsteps?
· Human activity is the leading cause of global warming because there is always a consequence to energy use. Does that mean we should champion widespread renewable energy as an all-out solution? Not necessarily! Clean energy has its name because it’s comparatively greener to fossil fuels but the key to mitigation is to use less, – whether it’s energy from the sun or dug from the ground.
· In terms of energy use, think of your business as if it were your home and treat it the same way. My number 1 tip is to turn the thermostat down just 1 degree – you’ll be amazed at how much it will save you.
· Wind power is hailed as an energy saviour in the media and yet questions are being raised about the carbon cost of manufacturing and construction. Are we encouraged to support the growth of wind power because certain people are profiting from it?
· How else can you be greener? By appointing an energy saving champion alongside a corporate social responsibility model at your company.
· Finally, I wanted to comment on one of the most underrated aspects of climate change contribution: the meat industry. We may not discuss it because of cultural connotations but the fact is the several-step process used to put meat into our supermarkets is a leading factor in air pollution reaching record highs every year. Meat-free Monday is an initiative I fully support in helping to reduce our impact on the environment by reducing the consumption and therefore demand of a costly food habit.