Sustainability is no longer just an empty buzzword thrown around by the business community. Today, organisations and corporations of all shapes and sizes are expected to not only talk the environmentally conscious talk but also walk the green walk, too.
One of the organizations leading the way on this front is supermarket giant Waitrose, which has been showing others the way forward by quite literally opening their doors for the world to see their latest eco initiative.
In June it was announced that the supermarket chain had successfully cut energy use in its stores by 40%. This incredible achievement has been attributed, in part, to the introduction of new refrigeration technologies in its food aisles.
This open-fronted fridge technology comes from Wirth Research. Typically, open-fronted supermarket fridges expel significant amounts of cold air into the aisle, which culminates in a significant waste of energy. However, Wirth Research’s Next Generation Refrigeration (NGR) uses technology from the motorsport industry to redirect airflow back into the cabinets, retaining cold air within and reducing the power required to cool things down.
Because of this, far less energy ends up being used and so emissions and bills have been slashed.
Waitrose stores in Evesham, Dorchester, Chesham and Worthing are already decked out with this cost-saving tech, and there are plans to roll it out across all stores. Senior Manager of Technical Services for Waitrose & Partners, Jim Burnett, commented:
“This new technology takes the energy efficiency of our refrigeration to another level, delivering significant environment benefits while helping to create warmer, more comfortable surroundings for our customers and partners.”
And Waitrose isn’t the only brand taking innovative steps towards sustainability. Next, M&S, Ted Baker, ASOS and Primark are among a group of clothing retailers who have committed to reducing waste, water use and carbon emissions to the tune of 15% by 2020. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts have even launched their own range of bee hotels as part of their Bee Sustainable programme, which seeks to protect the honeybee population.
Taking simple steps towards sustainability is key to a better brand image
Of course, for smaller businesses taking innovative leaps towards sustainability such as implementing the latest refrigeration technology isn’t always possible. Without the funding and means to employ whole R&D departments to develop advanced eco-friendly measures, you might be left wondering how best to tackle the issue when it comes to your own business.
Thankfully, there are plenty of accessible ways to make sustainability part of your daily business agenda. For example, introducing solar panels.
The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) is a new government scheme to reward households and businesses that make use of small-scale renewable technologies like solar panels. Under the SEG, businesses are paid for exporting electricity to the grid.
Even better, solar panels are now more accessible than ever before. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) says that the cost of solar panels is now more than 50% cheaper than it was in 2011.
Energy and Clean Growth Minister Chris Skidmore comments on the expected success of the SEG:
“The future of energy us local and the new Smart Export Guarantee will ensure households and businesses that choose to become green energy generators will be guaranteed a payment for electricity supplied to the grid.
“We want the energy market to innovate and it’s encouraging to see some suppliers already offering competitive export tariffs to reduce bills.”
Another way to make your business a greener place to be is to shop around when it comes to your energy supplier. Some suppliers now offer “green tariffs”, which are committed to buying energy from renewable sources or offsetting carbon emissions created by the burning of fossil fuels. So, it’s important to do your research and see if you could be paying less for your energy while also doing your bit as an environmentally conscious brand.
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