Engaging customers in the green debate

20th Oct 2021

The recent soar in energy prices has coalesced debate around the cost and supply of our future energy needs. And with the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) due to get underway in Glasgow at the end of October, that debate is only going to get more intense.

In fact, the run up to COP26 has already seen the announcement of a number of Government initiatives in areas such as hydrogen and heat pump technology. These individual initiatives have been augmented by the issuing of the UK’s Net Zero Strategy on 19th October. This sets out how the UK will deliver on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050; in the process securing 440,000 well paid jobs and unlocking £90 billion in investment by 2030.

Some of the measures announced in the Net Zero Strategy may seem to have little or no relevance to many businesses. Measures, such as the planting of woodland or the funding of innovation projects to develop green technology, may have long term implications for the country but at the moment are specific to certain sectors.

Other initiatives, however, potentially affect the majority of businesses. These include support for the electrification of vehicles and supply chains and aims to decarbonise buildings, helping homes and businesses to operate in a more carbon-neutral way.

Alongside these government-driven initiatives there are steps which all businesses can take to review and improve their own carbon footprint. And initiatives such as increasing the efficiency of office lighting or optimising heating and cooling systems have the potential to save costs in the short term whilst also improving carbon footprints.

However, no matter how good the intentions, no business will be able to truly reap the carbon reward unless they reach out and involve others such as suppliers and customers in their plan for change. In particular, by engaging customers in the debate, businesses may be able to offer their products and services in a more carbon-efficient manner. For example:

  • Offering non-perishable products in larger packages could not only help to reduce packaging costs, it could also reduce the number of customer trips.
  • Or, perhaps by working with customers businesses may be able to identify small changes to products or packaging which could reduce certain types of carbon-intensive materials.
  • And when it comes to services, even something as simple as a website design change which lessens the energy required to access or navigate the site could help to reduce business and customer footprints.

As time goes on, businesses will find that reducing their carbon footprints will require a mix of large and small initiatives. Engaging customers in those initiatives could well be key to successfully implementing a plan for carbon change.

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