Top 3 areas to focus your sustainability efforts in 2018

Renewable energy is a key area for sustainable businesses to demonstrate action and leadership, but it can be a complex space. Ahead of the Edie Sustainability Leaders Forum next week, Michael Watts, Strategic Sales Manager, explains three crucial focus areas for the coming year.

When it comes to driving sustainable business growth, reducing your carbon footprint and using renewable energy are likely at the heart of your strategy.

There are many ways that businesses can embrace renewables, so it can be difficult to know where to focus and to keep up with the constantly changing market.

To help you prepare for the year ahead, we’ve highlighted three important areas to consider.

We’ll be attending the Edie Sustainability Leaders Forum in London next week, so please visit our stand if you would like to discuss any of these topics with me.


1. Be ready for carbon reporting changes

We know that what gets measured gets managed, and mandatory carbon reporting has been a driver of behaviour change for UK businesses.

But the other energy tax and reporting regimes - Climate Change Levy (CCL), CRC energy efficiency scheme, Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) etc – have long been viewed by businesses as confusing and burdensome.

In October last year, the Government announced a review of energy and carbon reporting with the aim of creating a simpler system that aligns with international best practice and drives the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The review will look at:

• Who should report (e.g. size of business or volume of energy used)
• What should be recorded to ensure the most efficient process is upheld (emissions, energy, energy efficiency measures)
• Simplifying how to report this information (e.g. within annual reports or electronically to Companies House)

The consultation closed on the 4th January 2018. We will be keeping our customers up to date about the outcome and supporting with the transition to the new requirements.


2. Know where your electricity is coming from

If your company is not already purchasing renewable electricity, make 2018 the year you switch. If you’re already buying green, well done! But do you actually know what you’re getting?

Transparency is key with renewables and your supplier should be providing you information about where your renewable electricity comes from and evidence that origin certificates are not being double-counted.

We provide customers an annual Energy Label which shows a breakdown of the generation sources included in their supply and their carbon emissions

If your organisation is making public commitments to renewables, such as joining the RE100, you also need to be certain that you’ll be supplied with renewables now and in the future.

The Carbon Trust conduct ongoing quarterly audits of our renewable products and process, so we guarantee our customers will receive 100% renewable electricity for their full contract.

For confidence in your renewable supply and carbon emissions reporting, we recommend asking your suppliers these six questions:

1. Is every MWh of our supply backed by a UK-recognised origin certificate?
2. Do you own the certificates on the Ofgem Renewables and CHP Register?
3. Are the certificates for electricity generated in the same reporting period as our consumption?
4. Have you allocated them to our actual (not estimated) usage?
5. Has the allocation been validated by an independent third party?
6. Do you conduct regular monitoring to ensure sufficient certificates to meet our supply going forward?

To find out more about buying and reporting renewable electricity, refer to our guide here.


3. Amplifying your impact through the supply chain

As a supplier to leading brands and second-tier suppliers, we see a significant gap between what the top sustainable brands are doing and the rest of the business world.

The companies that are already leading the way on buying renewables could amplify their own efforts and drive wider decarbonisation of the system by pushing renewables down through their supply chains.

Scope 3 carbon reporting is complex and challenging, but encouraging and incentivising suppliers to buy renewables could be a valuable first step on this journey.

Just picture the emissions reductions when we move from hundreds of companies to thousands of companies buying and reporting renewable electricity!

This is the focus of our latest report, Renewable Energy in the Supply Chain, which brings together our own research with expert viewpoints from the Carbon Trust and CDP.

By focusing on these three topics in 2018, your business can be one step closer to achieving its sustainability strategy.


> Contact us today
> Find out more about our certified renewable electricity
> Read our report Renewable Energy in the Supply Chain

About the author

Michael joined SmartestEnergy in 2017 and is a key member of the I&C Supply team. He is primarily responsible for identifying and developing strategic sales opportunities and promoting SmartestEnergy’s products to I&C users. Before joining SmartestEnergy Michael held a similar role with ENGIE Energy Solutions. His career in the industry has also included positions with Haven Power, Shell Gas Direct and Gaz de France. Michael has an MA Business Economics from Wilfrid Laurier University, Toronto and a BA Economics from the University of Essex.

> Connect with Mike on LinkedIn