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SMEs ask energy firms to focus on renewables

SMEs ask energy firms to focus on renewables

SMEs ask energy firms to focus on renewables

New research has underlined the importance of sustainability and green issues to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK, the majority of which want energy companies to make a stronger commitment to renewables.

The report, which was commissioned by Haven Power, found that nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of SMEs would like providers to place more of an emphasis on sustainable energy. Only 11 per cent said they would give their current supplier a rating of 'excellent' for renewable energy support and options.

Availability of renewable electricity was found to be the third biggest factor that would prompt smaller firms to switch provider, behind price and service.

More than one in five respondents (22 per cent) said they would be happy to stay late at work to change their supplier if it meant they could arrange a completely clean energy product. This proportion increased to more than a quarter (28 per cent) of larger SMEs (101-250 employees).

The study also found that just over a quarter (26 per cent) of Britain's smaller businesses look for support in being more efficient when choosing an energy company.

Jonathan Kini, chief executive of Haven Power, said it wasn't necessarily a surprise to find that many SMEs are unhappy with their current power supplier, but described the extent of the dissatisfaction as "shocking".

He noted that smaller firms want more from their providers, with a clearer commitment to renewables at the top of the list of demands for many commercial energy users.

"This suggests there is some fundamental change happening, and we in the energy sector need to respond to it by not only helping SMEs reduce their energy usage but also being able to supply 100 per cent renewable energy," Mr Kini continued.

"The fact that only 21 per cent of respondents believe their supplier is completely committed to renewable energy and almost a third saying their supplier is either not very committed or they are not sure they have a renewable option shows a huge gap in the market for those with a different offer."

One part of the country where companies are being encouraged to focus on issues such as their carbon footprint and power consumption is Suffolk. The local county council is leading the three-year Business Energy Efficiency Anglia project, which aims to help enterprises improve their sustainability, reduce costs and strengthen their resilience to changing supplier prices.

Cllr Matthew Hicks, cabinet member for environment and public protection, said the local authority has formed a partnership with Haven Power that will help the company's customers "go green, become more energy efficient and save money by reducing their energy use".

There are a number of simple steps businesses can take to begin their journey towards greater energy efficiency, such as encouraging recycling and other eco-friendly practices in the workplace.

It's also important to examine the green credentials of any external partners or third-party service providers before agreeing to work with them.

Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of iStock/vencavolrab