Energy & Carbon
Businesses are being pincered by the need to reduce carbon emissions and cut energy expenditure at a time of unparalleled recession.
The UK ‘s Low Carbon Transition Plan sets out how the UK aims to cut C02 emissions by more than a third from 1990 levels by 2020. The four main planks of the programme are to make energy greener, to reduce emissions by improving the sustainability of the built environment, through home and community-wide schemes, reducing carbon emissions on public and private transport and by managing agriculture, land use and waste more sustainably.
All of these activities have an impact on the way that commerce and industry work and the price of doing business. The response of business to these demands has fallen broadly into three categories, says Rolton MD Allan Rose: "To some it's about minimising energy costs at the coalface. For others it's truly about the energy and environmental impact of what they are doing. And for a very few it's about true sustainability and the impact on the environment - the real cost of transporting material around the world, or using man-made versus natural alternatives.”
It’s possible that many businesses have yet to grasp the enormity of the energy situation, and how it applies to them. Wholesale energy prices are rising at an unprecedented rate. Domestic gas prices in the UK are expected to rise by 15 per cent this winter and electricity prices rose by up to 19 per cent last autumn. Since 1990 the price of electricity has doubled and the price of gas has gone up by 135 per cent. Over the same period the price of oil has varied from between $40 and $140 a barrel.
No business could expect to operate if the price of labour rose at such a scale as gas and electricity have done – nor could it hope to function properly if the price of labour varied as widely as the price of oil does. As the global demand for energy increases, prices rise accordingly. An oil tanker can re-route to make a delivery to a higher bidder on the other side of the world. The continuous availability of the energy businesses need to operate can not be taken for granted on a permanent basis, under the current model. Economists predict that the next major international conflict will be about natural resources like oil, gas or water.
The only option for businesses and organisations looking for a long-term solution is to understand its energy cost, to measure its performance against best practice and to develop an enduring strategy.
Rolton have carried out energy audits for the likes of the Crown Estates, the Ministry of Defence, the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace. Business and organisations need to understand where they are spending on energy and how efficiently they are using it. We also help clients to understand how they can minimise that energy use and reduce their carbon impact in the process.
In the new energy economy, things are not always what they seem. We have helped clients to move from a model where they paid to have their rubbish removed to one where they use it to generate power, create income and protect their own energy expenditure in the future. By the same token a factory roof can be an ideal location to house solar PV panels that generate power, reduce expenditure and provide a second income stream with sales back into the grid.
We understand that a period of unprecedented change requires analysis, understanding and out of the box thinking to turn a potential threat into a competitive advantage.