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MAF Talks: How the world of renewables and sustainability works…

Our director of renewable energy, Wreide Poole, takes time out to speak about how businesses need to act sooner rather than later when it comes to renewables and sustainability.

The renewables and sustainability topics are fast becoming a crowded marketplace in the funding world.

With lenders all stating their sustainable capabilities, how are we really helping businesses?

Our number one focus for any aspiring breakout leader in this space is helping businesses navigate the complexity and the many moving parts in the sustainability transformation journey.

Day after day I am talking to passionate business owners and looking for ways to improve the way they run their business and embrace change.

The Green Industrial Revolution…

By 2050, the UK government has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero.

According to the most recent Carbon Budget, laws will be adopted to reduce emissions by 78 per cent by 2035. Between 1990 and 2035, this will be the fastest rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of any large economy.

The United Kingdom aspires to be the world’s leader in the ‘Green Industrial Revolution’, and businesses here must engage in carbon reduction techniques to help achieve this aim, meaning they must move quickly to ensure compliance.

So, what can businesses do?

We must first each take personal accountability for our own actions to help combat climate change and reduce our carbon footprint, so we can all contribute to the fight against global warming.

Key to starting any transformational journey is to understand where you are.

A full energy audit is often the best place to get started, and a deep dive into how you use energy throughout your business operational activities is key, as breaking down and categorising the energy demand will help visualise the opportunities for change.

It’s also an excellent opportunity to evaluate your business lean efficiencies. Can you do things different? Can you optimise your operational activities and become slicker? Will this increase productivity?

Ultimately, if you embrace this exercise, you will not only be taking the first steps towards being carbon net zero and sustainably responsible, but you will achieve a clear cost saving on your energy purchase price.

It’s win, win and win.

How to embrace the world of renewables…

Now we understand where we stand from an energy demand and carbon production point of view, it’s clear that businesses need to act, and a major component of the transition to a sustainable business is the adoption of a renewable energy source, but which one?

Well, it depends on your business of course, but for the purposes of this editorial, let’s take an agricultural view and say you are a poultry farmer.

Immediately what do we see? Rooftops, right?

This is perfect for solar and often meets minimal resistance to planning consent as it perfectly complements the footprint of the operation. The impact of introducing this technology will be significant, meaning you will generate your own energy for consumption, and if you are generating more than you need you will be able to create an additional revenue stream by selling the energy you produce to the grid.

And, using our example, an uninterrupted power supply would be crucial for a poultry farm.

Concerns around renewable dependability often come up in any business that operates 24/7, and consuming energy in every hour of every day is a challenge for sure.

So, businesses that operate under this demand should also complement any renewable technology with some battery storage, though this doesn’t need to be a huge expense as there are many solutions available, and they are often introduced as part of your technology system.

Having a power storage unit means you are reducing the risk of downtime, improving uptime guarantee targets and bringing comfort to those within the supply chain.

Renewable energy technology options are broad and specific to your business operation, demand, and feasibility, and it’s important you surround yourself with the right people who have the right knowledge and add value to your transition.

Which technology should you choose?

Here’s a list of the kind of technology being considered by many business owners that I’ve spoken to:

As you can see, renewable energy and sustainability is more than just the lending rate and securing the cash to build something.

It’s bigger than that.

It’s about the benefits to your business, questioning yourself, your team, your supply chain and your customers.

This sustainability journey is a ‘whole of existence’ mindset and doing the right thing for all.

From my professional perspective, it’s about understanding my client’s needs and working with them to help, steer and advise. I enjoy bringing projects to life and providing the right renewable and sustainable support, ultimately helping answer the questions I get asked so frequently like “What does a business have to do to achieve net zero?” and “How does this transition take place?”.

Wreide is our director of renewable energy and has been at MAF Finance Group since late 2021. To contact him for more information, call 07542 849671 or email wreidepoole@maffinancegroup.co.uk.

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