Speaking at the Sustainability Leaders Forum in London earlier today, David Purdy, acting director at DECC’s energy efficiency deployment office, said that many companies still perceived the transition towards greater efficiencies in energy use as a cumbersome journey.

“There is greater potential to maximise efficiency in certain products and buildings [but] the hassle and transition to achieve it is overvalued,” he told delegates.

Purdy argued that misaligned incentives and a lack of understanding on the true cost savings that could be made from reducing energy use were partly to blame.

He advised companies to start auditing, saying it would soon become mandatory for organisations with over 250 staff.

“Know what your own energy use is and act on the most cost effective tool to reduce that. I think there’s a lot of easy potential that can be addressed in businesses,” he said.

This view was echoed by the CBI’s director of business development, Rhian Kelly, who stressed that carbon reduction was not just a “nice add-on” to growth.

“Despite the economic modelling saying [energy efficiency] is a no-brainer, it’s still hard to make the business case at board level. We’re saying to government that there is a need to build confidence in low carbon technologies and markets,” she said.

Kelly argued that well-designed regulations such as green taxes could be an effective driver, but that the “mood music” such as a stable policy framework and consistent government rhetoric was also important.

“The move to a low carbon economy shouldn’t be a signal for companies to move out of the UK,” she maintained.

Maxine Perella

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