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British retailers feel the heat from rising energy costs

Business leader urges British businesses to cut £3bn energy wastage with free Carbon Trust advice.

CITY & CORPORATE

British retailers feel the heat from rising energy costs

Business leader urges British businesses to cut £3bn energy wastage with free Carbon Trust advice.

Rising energy prices and the state of the economy are the biggest worries facing British retailers in 2010, according to research released by the Carbon Trust to launch its new Best Advice campaign. 

56% of retailers surveyed said they are worried about the unstable economy and almost half (49%) said they are worried about energy price hikes.  Far fewer retailers are worried about a possible change in government (11.1%) or complying with environmental legislation (8.3%). 

Over a third (38%) of retailers surveyed said that one of their top three New Year’s resolutions is to reduce the amount of energy their business uses.  Despite this, a quarter (25%) admitted that no one within their organisation was responsible for managing their energy consumption and controlling costs.

The extent of retailers’ worries over energy prices was revealed as the Carbon Trust kicked off its Best Advice campaign - a drive to persuade British companies to stop wasting over £3bn of energy every year. The campaign was launched by Ian Cheshire, Group CEO of Kingfisher, the parent company of B&Q.  He urged manufacturers to take a free Carbon Survey from the Carbon Trust, which he called “the best free advice any business will get this year”.

The Carbon Survey, available free of charge to all businesses that spend between £50,000 and £3million on energy each year, provides the services of an energy expert on site and a tailored energy-saving action plan. It typically identifies possible savings on energy costs of between 20% and 30%. Businesses that have already taken advantage of the service and cut their energy bills as a result include organic food supplier Abel & Cole, Hartlepool shopping centre Middleton Grange and the Buttermarket Shopping Centre in Ipswich.

Ian Cheshire, Group CEO, Kingfisher, said: “It is simply good business sense to be smarter about the way we use energy. It cuts costs, makes us more efficient and improves our reputation with customers. I would encourage any business that has yet to embark on the energy efficiency journey to pick up the phone and book in a Carbon Trust survey. It is likely to be the best piece of free advice a business will get this year.”

B&Q has significantly cut its energy costs and made a carbon saving of 10,000 tonnes of CO2 by working with the Carbon Trust since 2008. The company has engaged staff to save energy and improved heating and lighting, as well as through improvements to buildings.

The Carbon Trust’s Best Advice research also asked retailers who had given them the best piece of business advice they ever received and which famous business person they would turn to for advice given the chance.

Only 17% of respondents said their bank manager or accountant had given them the best business advice. Far more said it had been a good friend (36%), a colleague (29%) or their boss (32%).

Virgin tycoon, Richard Branson, was the most popular choice of business mentor with almost one third (28%) of retailers wanting to turn to him for advice. The Dragons’ Den dragons were the second most in-demand (23%) with Alan Sugar in third place (18%). X Factor mogul, Simon Cowell, was picked by 6% of respondents, ahead of Philip Green of Arcadia who only received 3% of the vote.

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