The carbon emissions issue has never been more critical for businesses, for two reasons.  Firstly, if you wish to recruit and retain the best talent out there, then you need to give your people every assurance that as a business you are doing your best for the environment.  Secondly, saving energy saves money – so there’s a practical business benefit too.

The worst business advice I’ve ever received actually relates to carbon. There are so many cynics and sceptics out there who feel that the whole climate change argument is all a waste of time, and just a distraction from the reality of doing business.  The truth is, if you wish to retain great talent in your business, you have got to have answers to the important questions of the day - and they include reducing carbon emissions.  So the worst advice I ever had was to ignore the environment.  Thankfully, I chose to ignore the advice.

Conversely, the best business advice I’ve ever received was from an airline pilot who made the point that companies always got it wrong by putting the customer first.  He said that the answer was to put people first, because if your people don’t understand your business, and feel inspired by it, then your customers are never going to receive the right experience. 

Since receiving that advice, I have always tried to put the people at the top of the business agenda, and it’s paid off.  We’ve made great progress with energy efficiency savings, particularly by getting our people to recognise the role that each and every single one of them can play by being sensible about energy use.

Other energy efficiency measures involve taking every action possible to optimise the way in which your business uses power. As a software company we have a lot of energy on PCs, servers and server farms. So finding better ways in which we can organise our hardware and run it more effectively has led to great savings across the business.

But the energy efficiency measure that has made the most difference to our business is training our people to recognise the responsibility they have towards the environment. If you get your people inspired, and believing in what you are trying to do as an organisation, then of course you are much more likely to achieve your corporate objectives and deliver great success for shareholders, customers and all stakeholders in the business.

About the author:

Paul Stobart is MD Sage UK and Ireland. Sage has significantly cut its energy costs and already made a carbon saving of 291 tonnes of CO2 by working with the Carbon Trust.  For  more advice on this subject visit the Best Advice Campaign. The company has implemented a number of measures from reducing its out of hours energy consumption to replacing light bulbs in its meeting rooms.