Decarbonising your business – where do you start?
Many businesses, already grappling with the impacts of Brexit and Covid-19, recognise the need to decarbonise but don't know where to start. If that's you, then find out how to kickstart the journey towards decarbonising your business. It's easier than you think.
Firstly, what does decarbonising your business mean?
It means actively and continuously seeking to reduce the carbon emissions generated by your business activities. Businesses can do this through measures such as reducing energy usage or transitioning to renewable sources of energy. Renewable energy is energy that isn’t generated from fossil fuels, such as oil. That might sound pretty challenging but getting started on the journey isn't as daunting as it seems.
Why should you decarbonise your business?
These are really difficult times for businesses, particularly SMEs. Most businesses are dealing with the double whammy of Covid-19 and preparing for Brexit, so reducing their climate impact might not be on their immediate radar.
However, if the ongoing pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the importance of resilience. Being prepared for the low carbon economy of the future will enhance your resilience, reduce risk and help your business to survive in a decarbonised world.
There are multiple risks out there for business including:
- The cost of energy and the volatility of that cost: almost half of all businesses surveyed1 say that their electricity bill is a significant business challenge.
- The cost of emissions: Budget 2021 increased carbon taxes by €7.50 per tonne next year, with further increases in subsequent years.
What are the benefits to decarbonising?
Decarbonising is something every business should do. It is also something that more and more businesses want to do. There are many benefits, including:
- Cost savings: most businesses can save up to 10% on their energy bills every year through some basic no- or low-cost actions, with up to 30% savings possible through investments with attractive pay back periods.
- Enhance brand and reputation: many customers now expect companies to have plans for reducing their climate impact and are making purchasing decisions on that basis.
- Increase competitiveness: by preparing your business for a decarbonised world you won't be left behind.
- Attract and retain staff: employees are increasingly looking for their employer to take action around climate change.
Where do you start?
Starting off on the journey can be a bit daunting. There are lots of straightforward actions that will start saving you money straight away. Whatever the size of your business, the first steps to decarbonising are the same:
- Understand your energy use and related emissions;
- Educate yourself on the early steps;
- And take action, no matter how small.
"Most businesses can save up to 10% on their energy bills every year through some basic no- or low-cost actions, with up to 30% savings possible through investments with attractive pay back periods."
Sounds easy, but are there any supports out there?
In short, yes. The SEAI has a range of supports for businesses looking to start decarbonising. A great place to start is the SEAI Energy Academy, which is a free online educational resource for businesses
The Energy Academy offers a wide range of courses and modules, focused on a variety of energy efficiency topics. The modules are interactive, accessible in your own time and only last about 15-20 minutes each.
Topics include the basics of energy and climate, office energy efficiency and eco driving. There are also modules on new technologies such as heating, lighting and refrigeration. It includes plenty of tips on some very low cost or even no cost changes which can save a business up to 10% on their energy bills.
We also have our ‘SME Guide to Energy Efficiency’ available to download, which includes useful information, tips and case studies.
Have you considered decarbonising your business? Dearbhla Stapleton, SEAI's Business and Industry Programme Manager, outlines the first steps you should take.Click to tweet (opens in a new tab)
What about grants and financial supports?
For companies looking to invest in decarbonisation, the SEAI also provides a range of financial supports, including grants and tax incentives. More details of these supports are available on our website.
What are you waiting for? Check out the SEAI’s supports and start saving money and reducing your climate impact today.Visit the Energy Academy Listen to our podcast about Ireland's first carbon neutral hotel