June 30th, 2010 by Francis Binney
Cutting your electricity bill by nearly 30% may sound like no mean feat and many of us might ask the question – what sort of investment am I going to have to make to achieve this? But when the answer to that question is one that pays for itself within two years, the opportunity to save energy starts to look seriously attractive.
Jim Hopley, Chief Executive of the Jersey Co-Operative Society addressed Jersey Chamber Members at the June 2010 luncheon, giving a presentation entitled ‘The Environment at the Heart of all our Activities’.
A packed audience were probably expecting to hear a mix of staff volunteering, green initiatives and the sponsorship of environmental projects. What they got instead was focused, practical information on how simple it can be to cost effectively cut energy use and carbon emissions while maintaining a high quality service. Mr. Hopley’s frank and open speech then went on to look at the issue of environmental sustainability, why – as local businesses and residents – we should all be involved in it and whose responsibility it is to drive it forward. He highlighted the fact that to date government efforts in the area of sustainability have only gone so far and, while initiatives such as Eco Active are great for engaging people and businesses, they do not have the power to push companies past the stage of just paying lip service to environmental issues.
Mr. Hopley suggested that it was therefore the responsibility of business to take the reins and drive the issue providing environmentally sound services for their clients and achieving sustainable returns for their shareholders – who in the case of the Co-Operative are the same people.
Reducing your carbon footprint may not be an overnight process but Mr Hopley has also shown it is not a complicated one either. By installing voltage optimisation equipment (the Power Perfector) the Co-Operative has saved over 10% on its electricity costs and through re-lamping with low energy bulbs another 16 % has been saved. Coupled with a process change that allowed lighting levels to be lowered during evening shelf stacking the Co-Operative has achieved 29% annual electricity savings and extended the life of their equipment.
Mr. Hopley stressed the importance of taking a top to bottom approach. Weather you have a green team or a sustainability specialist they need to have access both to the main body of your staff and the management in order to gain both the support and the authority to make changes that will lead to better profits, a more satisfied workforce and environmental sustainability.
If you are interested in building sustainability into your business Durrell’s annual Business Seminar will be held on the 20th October 2010 and will focus on Practical and cost effective routes to sustainability for island businesses. Full details will be available on the Jersey Chamber of Commerce website in due course and in the August & September issues of Chamber Online.
Article by Francis Binney of the Jersey Chamber of Commerce Sustainable Business Forum published originally in the June 2010 issue of The Jersey Chamber of Commerce Chamber on-line.