Energy and the Autumn Budget: How going green can help your business

On the 29th October, Chancellor Phillip Hammond presented his last budget before the UK leaves the EU in March 2019, in which he unveiled new initiatives for income tax, schools and the NHS, as well as plans for a greener future.

While the promise of a greener future is something we all welcome, getting there will require big changes — some of which will affect UK businesses directly.

We’ve taken a look at some of the main points of this year’s budget to determine which changes could affect your business and what you can do about it.

Proposed initiatives for a greener UK

Here’s a quick summary of the key environmental issues that the government plan on changing:

1. A new plastic tax — To help combat the global plastic crisis, a new plastic tax has been introduced on any packaging that does not consist of at least 30% recyclable materials. The tax acts as a deterrent to try and edge businesses towards greener production.

2. A pledge to plant more trees — As part of a green initiative, the Chancellor has pledged to contribute £60m to planting new trees throughout the UK. The majority of the money (£50m) will be used to buy carbon credits from landowners who plant woodland, while the remaining £10m will be focused on new street and urban trees across England.

How can businesses support the government’s green initiative?  

Currently, the UK is not on track to meet its 15-year carbon emission target, which is to produce less than 51% of carbon emissions emitted in 1990.

In order to get back on track, the government will need to make more drastic changes, so the introduction of plastic taxes and the pledge to plant more trees will certainly help the country move towards a greener future.

But if we are to meet the UK emissions target, we all have our part to play. For example, there are several other ways in which businesses can improve their operations to become more environmentally conscious and improve their carbon footprint:

- Expand your recycling processes: While paper recycling has been the norm in office environments for many years, companies can now expand their recycling habits even further. By adding extra recycling points, your business can responsibly dispose of paper cups, cardboard, tin cans and even printer ink cartridges.

- Go paperless: Why not take it one step further and become a paperless office? By embracing our digital world, you can make use of online communication apps and centralised file-storage systems to drastically reduce your paper demand. This will not only cut expenses for your business, but storing all your data digitally will also help to increase the productivity of your workforce. Plus, less paper means less waste, so you’ll be helping to save the trees too.

- Leave the car in the drive: Another growing trend in environmental office practices is the rise in remote working when a role allows them to work away from the office. Online communication services like email and Skype allow people to hold meetings with colleagues and clients from any location. With more businesses adopting this practice, it creates a reduction in individual carbon footprints, removing the need for a fleet of cars driving to and from the office each day.

You can even take it a step further by introducing a cycle to work scheme for your employees. This popular scheme not only helps to reduce carbon emissions, but allows your employees to commute in a healthy way while saving on the cost of paying for cycling equipment upfront.

- Invest in smart technology: Keeping an eye on your energy usage has never been easier thanks to smart technology innovations. Smart energy systems like Hive, Nest and Todo can help you monitor and control electricity and heating and can help you track usage so that you can make adjustments where consumption levels are highest.   

For more great information on how you can future-proof your business, take a look at our green initiatives blog.

Greener energy consumption?

In light of the recent budget announcement, it’s more important than ever to make the switch to sustainable energy. By adopting environmentally friendly practices, you can make sure your business is not only sustainable, but has cheaper running costs as well.

The good news is that going green is easier than you think. There are a number of small but crucial changes you can make to your day-to-day business that can make your company more environmentally friendly.

Green energy contracts, for example, are a simple way for businesses to make use of sustainable energy sources to power their day-to-day operations. This means your company will still get its energy from the national grid while your supplier replaces it with energy from renewable sources. So you can enjoy the benefits of green energy without needing to install any specialist equipment yourself.

Click here for more helpful tips and advice on how to implement green initiatives in your business, or switch your business energy to a renewable provider in minutes.

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