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Why going green is good for your business

Chris Roper, Business energy

9th February 2017

From Arsenal to Starbucks, businesses all over the world are turning to renewable energy to power their premises and activities. This trend is boosting renewable investment and bringing us ever closer to a post-fossil-fuel economy.

In this blog we explore the companies spearheading change, examine the challenges facing smaller firms, and explain why going green doesn't just help the planet, but your reputation, too.

Imagine stepping inside one of Google's monumental data centres. After clearing security, you walk into a warehouse-sized area filled with row upon row of server stacks blinking blue, green, and yellow light. The air is warmer than the main building and your ears fill with a mechanical hum. Engineers whizz along the aisles on micro scooters, popping out expired drives and replacing them with new ones.

This is just one of many data centres Google operates throughout the world, each one carefully designed to handle petabytes (1 petabyte = 1,000 terabytes) of data from all the searching, uploading, and downloading that occurs through its sites and applications (think of all that YouTube footage).

These vast racks of servers suck up as much as 0.01% of all global electricity use to operate efficiently and keep cool. That's enough power for 642,000 homes (to nearest thousand).

It’s perhaps no surprise that Google has committed to 100% renewable electricity in 2017.

And Google isn’t the only firm going green. RE100, a “a collaborative, global initiative of influential businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity,” lists 87 big name brands (including Apple, IKEA, and BT) who’ve publicly pledged to 100% renewable electricity.

Although not all have set such an imminent deadline as Google, citing internal and geographical limitations to overcome, it’s fantastic that the largest companies in the world – with energy appetites to match – are turning their backs on fossil fuels and accelerating our switch to a renewable energy economy.

Smaller firms are shouting for greater renewable commitment, too. In a report by Vanson Bourne, 100 SMEs (Small-Medium Enterprises) were asked what they wanted from their energy supplier. Almost three quarters (72%) wanted their supplier “to be more committed to supporting renewable energy.” When asked what would make them stay late at work to switch provider, price came first, customer service second, but renewable commitment was a close third.

Good for the planet, good for business

If the UK moved to 100% renewable energy, it would remove almost 40% of UK greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and help rein in anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change. We’re already paying a heavy price for global warming – our seas’ pH balance is out of whack due to ocean acidification (which bleaches coral and harms organisms), sea levels are rising as polar ice shrinks, and an increase in freak weather events is putting pressure on water and food supplies around the globe. These effects will only multiply and worsen if we neglect to take action now.

Climate change can harm businesses in ways you might not have considered. Members of the food and drink industry will feel the effects of drought or crop damage due to extreme weather. Fishermen will bemoan a reduction in fish stocks due to the loss of microorganisms in our warming oceans. Tourism will suffer with the loss of biodiversity and natural habitats, and the loss of coastline due to rising sea levels. These are just a few examples.

But aside from planet-wide conservation, proving yourself an environmentally-conscious organisation appeals to your customers, many of whom will have already considered their own carbon footprint and want to align with green brands. Being “green” means more than fulfilling Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) mandates. It means reviewing every aspect of your business through a sustainability lens. Buying 100% renewable energy is a solid foundation upon which to build a socially-responsible business that your customers will admire and tell their friends about – which bolsters your brand.

One of our largest business customers is Arsenal Football Club. We supply Emirates Stadium with 100% renewable energy, lighting up the pitch and grounds through solar and anaerobic digestion generation. Many of Arsenal's extensive fan following live in areas affected by global warming, and this simple change to their energy proves to fans that they care about their future, that they want to leave a planet worth playing on for generations to come.

And renewable energy isn’t expensive. It might’ve been in the past, but nowadays it’s affordable, and depending on the supplier, cheaper than fossil fuel generation. Finding the right supplier for your business is paramount; you need to know you’re getting good value for the long term, not just a fixed term. Taking a rag-and-bones deal now might seem a good idea if your margins are tight, but over the long term you could find yourself paying more through lost time (dealing with poor service) and price hikes should you forget to switch every year.

A better way

What if your business could get low-cost green energy that gives long-term value, incredible customer service, clear communication and total transparency?

Our business proposition does just that. We offer some of the cheapest renewable energy on the market, allowing companies of any size to go green without going bust. With us, there's no need to switch every year. Our fixed and variable tariffs are very similar, not £100s or £1,000s out like other suppliers. We might not always be the very cheapest, but we'll be close enough to make staying worthwhile.

Our Energy Specialists have years of industry experience and can advise on energy efficiency, and handle even the most technical questions. More importantly, they won't put your day on hold – we give fast responses by email and social media, and you can call us too.

Switching to us is a breeze. And once you're on board, you can manage everything online, from submitting meter readings to downloading invoices, saving you valuable time for more important activities. You'll find energy is no longer a hassle, but an effortless experience that allows you to get on with running your business.

Moving to renewable energy has never been easier. Drop us a line to business@octopus.energy and start reaping the rewards today.

Google electricity usage and homes comparison calculation:

(0.01% of 2015 world electricity consumption) / average annual consumption of medium household = (0.01% of 20,567 TWh) / 3100 kWh = 642,718.75.

https://yearbook.enerdata.net/electricity-domestic-consumption-data-by-region.html

http://there100.org/companies

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2012/05/15/google-data-center-faq/

https://www.theclimategroup.org/news/2015-year-renewable-energy-business

https://blog.google/topics/environment/100-percent-renewable-energy/

Hey! Just so you know, your device is fully charged and you're still charging it. Removing the charger will avoid degrading your battery 😊

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