SMEs place Energy Efficiency at top of Cost-Cutting Agenda

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More than a quarter of small firms would place energy efficiency at the top of their cost cutting measures.

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Research from the Carbon Trust revealed that 69% of small businesses are cutting costs or considering doing so. Of these, 27% stated they would prioritise energy efficiency, 17% would make redundancies and 24% would introduce salary freezes or below inflation pay rises.

Commenting on the research, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants’ (ACCA) head of social and environmental issues, Rachel Jackson, said:

“It’s sensible to start cutting energy first before getting rid of staff, from a workplace morale point of view as well as an environmental one. It’s an easier thing to implement than the other measures, and one of the aspects they have the most control over.

“Employers can implement it immediately and every member of staff can do it,” she added. “Hiring and firing is usually controlled by a small number of staff members, while energy efficiency is something everybody can help with.

“The high fuel bills at the moment are an additional driver to get people to cut down on energy wastage,” said Jackson. “It’s a driver for them to reduce their quarterly bills and be more prudent in their energy use.”

According to the Carbon Trust, UK businesses could save £2.5 billion during the next 12 months by implementing cost–effective energy–saving measures.

“Firms are beginning to realise that enforcing green measures in a business is the easiest way to save money,”

said Carbon Trust solutions director, Hugh Jones.

“Our new statistics provide stark evidence that if firms are starting to feel the bite from the economic downturn, the first place to look for cost savings should be their energy bill,” he added.

“We’re talking about money that could be saved by making quick and easy changes such as encouraging staff to turn off computers and lights, turning down the heating or maintaining equipment properly.”

For more information on how to make your business more energy efficient, visit the Carbon Trust website

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