Big business wasting money by failing to implement cost saving energy measures

SENIOR BOSSES identified as key barrier to action on energy efficiency.


2degrees has today published a report which reveals that some of the world’s largest businesses are missing opportunities to cut energy costs by failing to implement proven energy saving measures. The findings also show that it is the senior leaders of some companies who are proving the main barrier to action on energy efficiency.


The Sustainable Business Trends Tracker shows that while a small number of businesses are leading on energy performance, a majority of businesses – 60%– said they have no plans to implement initiatives such as switching to off-site renewable energy, investing in solar panels or new heating technology. The Carbon Trust has estimated that big businesses in the UK are wasting £1.6bn annually on energy bills, which reveals the scale of the opportunity being missed.


The Trends Tracker is the most comprehensive of its kind revealing business attitudes towards sustainable business and is based on survey responses from 490 businesses, including some of the world’s biggest corporations such as Tesco, Unilever, McDonald’s, Tata Steel, Coca-Cola and GSK.


Despite rising energy costs – with 16% of businesses saying they spend more than £10m on electricity alone – senior bosses at some companies were identified as the main barrier to progress on energy efficiency. All respondents said that communicating to employees the benefits of energy efficiency is a key barrier to implementing energy saving measures, with more than half saying engaging colleagues is the greatest impediment to energy efficiency.


Additionally, fewer than half of respondents say sustainable business is central to their overall strategy, with short-term target setting driving sustainable approaches. Only 10% set sustainable business targets for ten years of longer, with the majority setting targets just 2-3 years ahead. This short-term approach to target setting and failure to put sustainable business at the centre of business strategies may provide a clue to the lack of action on energy efficiency.


The Trends Tracker also found that:


  • Only 30% of property companies said that sustainability was central to their overall strategy
  • 55% of businesses have switched to low-energy LED lighting
  • 83% of businesses monitor carbon output


Martin Chilcott, CEO of 2degrees, said: “At a time when energy prices are going up and increasing the cost burden on businesses, it is remarkable that business leaders are holding up achievable energy saving efforts. Failing to take these measures is like leaving the windows open while the heating is on. Too few businesses are acting on energy efficiency because too few are placing sustainable business at the centre of their business strategy, with short-termism inherent.


“The tools are available for businesses to respond to this challenge. Those that are orienting their strategy around sustainable business initiatives are reaping the benefits and making real cost savings. It is these leaders who will enable other companies to achieve a sustainable business approach by sharing their insights and knowledge.


“Collaboration between companies across all sectors will be the key to progress and ensure businesses are positioning themselves for growth in a shifting global economy.”


To access the full Executive Summary of the Trends Tracker please visit: