People often ask me about how to create a compelling business case for carbon management. My response is to ask them ‘what’s the business case for the alternative?’ A business with higher costs, poorer brand reputation and an inability to comply with future regulation is unlikely to grow sustainably and that’s before considering the impact on the environment that it operates within.
Energy keeps our hotels, restaurants and coffee shops running. So, we aim to make our business as energy efficient as possible by using less power and fuel to achieve the same result. We want to become one of the lowest carbon producing businesses in our sector.
We’re going to do this by making small changes that make a big difference. By installing super high insulation in our hotels and restaurants, we’re saving 20% gas usage per site. Similarly, by replacing 100,000 standard light bulbs with LED lamps, we’ve saved over £2m and 10,000 tonnes of CO2. Where good carbon management brings long-term cost savings, you won’t find much objection from your CEO or CFO.
Taking action on carbon also reduces business risk, such as exposure to resource scarcity and regulation change. But just as importantly it builds brand equity. Your customers, suppliers, and investors are looking more closely than ever at your credentials in this area, so this adds to the case for action. On the flipside, recognition and trust is there for those who do act.
That’s why we’re investing in new technologies and ways of working to reduce our energy signature and environmental footprint. In November 2015, we scored 98 out of 100 points on the CDP’s (Carbon Disclosure Project) climate change reporting programme. We are also now the first hospitality company in the UK to receive the Carbon Trust Triple Award for achievements in carbon, water & waste reduction across all hotels and restaurants
We also recently received Sustainable Hotel of the Year at the 2015 Hotel Cateys for our Premier Inn Hub hotel. During the first three months of operating, Hub used nearly 20% less energy than 10 Premier Inn hotels in London with a similar number of bedrooms, while consistently achieving almost 100% occupancy.
Reducing operational costs, strengthening corporate reputation and reducing the impact of future risks should already be business as usual activities.