Christian Arno

A call to arms for business leaders: use what's in your net zero armoury right now

3 min Read
Two men riding on escalators surrounded by greenery

As upheavals both at home and abroad are making abundantly clear, it’s more important than ever for businesses to lead our transition to net zero. 

The UK is currently facing a cost of living crisis on multiple fronts. From the unprecedented increase in inflation, to the rise in the energy price cap, people across the country are struggling to make ends meet. 

Adding pressure to this already fraught situation is the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As we mentioned in our March newsletter, the roots of the climate crisis and this war are both embedded in our dependency on fossil fuels. At this critical period – both domestically and geopolitically – we need the government to take decisive action. 

Unfortunately, what we’re instead hearing are rumblings around the re-introduction of fracking; Nigel Farage spreading disinformation around the price of the green transition on GB news; and a new coalition of MPs (with links to a climate sceptic group) looking to dismantle the UK’s net zero agenda

The energy crisis is a massive problem that must be addressed, but abandoning our net zero commitments is not how we solve it. The long-term stability of our society depends on us changing the way we do things – for the better. 

The importance of behavioural change

According to a 2021 report by the UK’s Behavioural Insights Unit (swiftly taken down but cleverly captured by Tom Greenwood of Wholegrain Digital), behavioural change is key to achieving the country’s legally binding net zero goals. Indeed, according to the Committee on Climate Change, 62% of future emissions reductions will depend on it.

Data taken from the Committee on Climate Change's 2020 progress report. (Source)

There are a lot of big, fancy technological fixes for solving climate change being talked about, and it’s true that we will need many different solutions! However, a lot of them are as of yet unproven. Whereas we know behaviour change makes a difference, and it’s a solution we have in our armoury now. 

Becoming a leader in the behavioural change movement is an opportunity to deliver intrinsic value to your company, but also extrinsic value to society. Both – I think you would agree – are more important than ever. 

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How can businesses encourage behavioural change amidst the current energy crisis? 

First off, it’s important to acknowledge that many people across the UK are already changing their behaviour in response to the energy crisis. We’re hearing heartbreaking stories of people eating less to heat their homes, or having to decide between paying for their prescriptions or paying their bills. The government needs to do more to support them as a matter of urgency.  

During this period of instability, those of us who are relatively shielded from these rising costs have a responsibility to continue to drive climate action forward. If we’re able to use less energy in our everyday lives, we can do our bit to help the UK transition away from fossil fuels. 

Even the smallest of changes can add up to bigger, energy-saving habits, as well as cost-savings. This is where a friendly eco-companion like Pawprint comes in. By nudging you and your workforce to turn off unnecessary lights or adjust the thermostat, our app makes sustainability part of everyone’s job – with the added benefit of helping shave down bills. 

By galvanising your employees and enabling them to directly contribute to your business’ green initiatives, they can help you achieve net zero that much faster. A goal that’s in everyone’s best interests!

How leading on behavioural change can deliver intrinsic business value:

  1. Cost savings

Implementing sustainable policies will be critical to future proofing your business, but it can also be of massive benefit to your bottom line in the short-term as well. Reducing your business’ energy consumption will help with the bills, as will measures like cutting back on business travel and reducing office waste. 

  1. Attracting the best workforce

According to a survey we commissioned in 2021, 59% of employees say it is important or very important that their employer has a strategy to tackle climate change. By taking behavioural change seriously now, you’ll develop a reputation for doing the right thing at the right time, and help you attract the best and brightest talent. 

  1. Leaving a positive legacy

Leading from the front means building a credible reputation for climate leadership at a time when businesses are looking to decarbonise as a matter of urgency. Taking steps today to future proof your company will not only strengthen relationships with investors and stakeholders, but can bring about transformational change throughout your industry. 

There’s a lot of work that needs to be done, and not all of it will be smooth sailing. But our transition to net zero will not only unearth new, exciting opportunities in the short-term – we’ll also be guaranteeing a stronger, more stable future for both business and the world around us. That’s a call to arms if I’ve ever heard one. 

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