How the most environmentally-friendly businesses find their green solutions
Being environmentally friendly is an absolute must, especially at a time when energy costs are soaring. Fortunately, some businesses have managed to stay ahead of the curve, prioritising energy-saving measures and investment in green technology. Whether they’re new to the idea of being greener or have done so for decades, some industry-leading firms provide inspiration to all.
The IT factor
Among the greenest firms on the planet today are IT companies. Leading the way are Dell, Hewlett Packard and IBM. All three are in an industry which requires a huge amount of energy use, so any efforts made to reduce the amount they need will seem pretty big. IBM are perhaps the most successful, having put energy-efficiency at the heart of what they do.
Throughout the 1990’s they saved over 5bn kilowatt hours in electricity, while they’re working on solutions to reduce traffic congestion in major cities. HP are among the companies doing the most to reduce their energy costs, potentially saving over $10bn in years to come.
As for Dell, they plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40% by 2015, which is a reasonable target.
Banking on the future
A handful of major banking firms have also taken measures to reduce their environmental impact. The National Australian Bank (NAB) has been recycling their waste paper and has spent millions on green technology.
They’re seen as a trailblazer for many other big firms in Australia, but are they alone outside of the US?
Munich Reinsurance Group have spent decades on trying to become more eco-friendly. As a result of their hard work and investment, Munich Re have managed to make their headquarters in Germany completely carbon neutral, something that the NAB have also achieved in 2011.
Can more be done?
While the likes of Munich Re and IBM have taken great strides towards being more eco-friendly, what about the business world as a whole? A spokesman from Make It Cheaper highlighted some of the problems companies in the UK face in trying to be green and save money:
“These are the sorts of well-known brand names to have whole departments and teams of highly-paid consultants dedicated to finding greener ways of doing business. Not so for the average business though. There are about four million small businesses in the UK and their understanding the benefits of investing in green initiatives – whether from an environmental, financial or reputational perspective – can be rather ‘finger in air’.
“This was one of the hot topics debated at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Microbusinesses that we were invited to present at in Westminster a few weeks ago. During the meeting, the Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker, told us that the Green Deal for Business would be a massive boost in that it would make the decision to install, say, LED lighting or a new boiler a ‘no-brainer’”, he said.
A raw Deal
“The challenge will be to effectively deliver that message to the individual business owners. So far the government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change has spent £2.9m to promote the Green Deal. Sounds a lot but it’s only about 0.1% of their budget so we think there’s a huge amount more that could – and should – be done.
“Among the general public, a YouGov poll shows that only there’s 39% awareness of the scheme’s existence. It’s higher, as you might expect, among our own energy–savvy customers at 71% but not everyone is convinced of its benefits with only 10% telling us its no-brainer for them. Greg did say he’d produce a one-pager which spells it out for small businesses and, when that arrives, we’ll be sure to publish it on our website”, the spokesperson added.