Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in business, and dealers are not immune from this focus. Sustainability measures how a business integrates environmental, social, and governance practices into operations and can sometimes be shortened to ESG.
It is no longer just a ‘nice to do’; regulatory changes and societal pressures are joined by other drivers for change. According to the CBI, two-thirds of investors consider sustainability factors when investing in a company. In motor retailing, increasingly OEMs expect their networks to embrace sustainability into their business decision making. While from a regulatory perspective, from 1 April 2023, the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations come into force and will apply to all existing commercial leases. Landlords will be prohibited from continuing to let commercial property with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of ‘F’ or ‘G’.
Sustainability practices will become crucial for businesses of all sizes, relying upon both ‘carrot and stick’ levers to get business leaders on board and it can be good for business. To put this in context, a study by IBM found that 57% of consumers are willing to change their purchasing habits to help reduce negative environmental impact.
We will continue to highlight sustainability issues in the months ahead. I thought it would be fitting to focus this initial story on three tangible steps all dealers can take now to start their journey by looking at some low-level environmental changes. With ‘carrot’ and the potential to save money in mind, we have sought ideas that can happen now.
- Switching to energy-saving LED light bulbs
- Fit motion sensor on lights to ensure lights are only on when triggered
- Switch appliances off rather than leaving them on standby
- Install programmable thermostats
Longer term, you might consider fitting rooftop photovoltaic panels, solar thermal panels, and thermal pumps.
- Replacing your taps with spray taps can reduce the volume of water coming out of the tap without diminishing pressure quality
- Switching to duel-flush toilets and high-efficiency urinals will save water
- Get your team on board with saving water through awareness training to educate them on everyday habits
Looking further ahead, you may want to consider rainwater reuse systems and the potential to recycle car washing water.
Waste and recycling
- Recycling waste is one of the most commonly implemented sustainable initiatives in the UK car industry. While manufacturing may lead, dealers can get on board and do their bit.
- Complete a ‘waste & recycling audit’ to assess if you can recycle more. From plastic bottles to paper/card; from oil to old tyres and batteries. At the same time, seek ways that you can reduce the waste that is produced by your business currently.
Finally, work out your carbon footprint.
Calculating your carbon footprint gives you an overview of how much greenhouse gas you are responsible for emitting as a business and start on the journey to reduce it. As a starting point, use a carbon calculator, such as Carbon Footprint Ltd, to calculate your footprint using conversion factors.
Good luck with your Sustainability & ESG journey!
Tom Harding, Head of Sustainability, Aldermore Bank