COMPANIES received advice on how to prepare for even higher energy prices and reduce their carbon footprint.
A group of business leaders were briefed on the challenges facing businesses even with the support of the incumbent government.
Chris Jeremy, head of business development at energy management firm Zenergi, said there had been a “perfect storm” pushing prices up.
“We’re in a really dark time and we don’t want to be in the dark this winter if we have seasonal cold spells,” he said at an event hosted by NatWest and the business and BDO advice.
He said around 25% of Europe’s electricity was produced from gas, which had been disrupted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
He said the number of vendors providing quotes to brokers had dropped. “We dealt with 15 to 20 suppliers. I would say we deal with four or five suppliers if you have a good credit rating,” he added.
“For a million pound contract, you could have a £100,000 contrast between first and second place.
“I don’t think anyone expects to go back to where we were two years ago for the awards,” he added.
He offered a series of tips on reducing energy consumption.
“The cheapest kilowatt-hour is the one you don’t use,” he said.
The event, titled Rethinking your energy use now and for the future, was held at NatWest’s offices at Hampshire House, Chandlers Ford.
He heard Mairead Taylor, director of corporate and commercial banking at NatWest in Dorset, talk about the bank’s Carbon Planner tool.
“The Carbon Planner is a tool that measures your carbon footprint and helps you assess the decisions you can make about how to reduce your carbon footprint, but also how you can save money to reduce your costs,” said she declared.
It’s free for businesses, even if they don’t do business with NatWest.
Users are prompted to answer a series of questions and can enter a carbon emissions target or have a target suggested.
“It gives you a clear action report that will show you all the different options that will reduce your carbon footprint and save you costs,” she said.
It also provides access to “thought leadership” and information on reducing energy consumption.
Ms Taylor said the bank had set ambitious emissions targets. “It is important that we provide brilliant tools and knowledge, and also that we provide great expertise,” she added.
“It’s the only end-to-end tool that exists and it will continue to evolve.”
The event also heard from Martin Callaghan, Director of Tax Assurance and Management at BDO.
He said: “Companies are currently focused on what they can do to try to manage their energy and other rising costs.
“However, it is concerning that our recent Rethinking the Economy survey of mid-market companies in the region showed that 49% of respondents are concerned that they will not meet their ESG (environmental, social and governance) objectives for the next two months. years due to more pressing priorities and investments elsewhere.