Staying profitable in a Low Carbon Economy
I’m currently designing a workshop to help small businesses understand their place in a low carbon economy. The stakes are high – the current UK Government has pledged net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the main Opposition looks likely to pledge the same by 2030. Whichever timescale becomes the dominant narrative, rapid change is on the way.
I can’t emphasise one thing enough –
big external change = big risk + big opportunity
The main risk comes from ‘do nothing’. Whether you are an architect, a packaging producer or a logistics company, if you offer a high carbon product/service and the world around you drains carbon from their operations, then your business is going to go down the plughole with it. “Whose carbon footprint are we part of?” is the question you’ve got to ask yourself.
The flipside are the emerging business opportunities. A couple of years ago I was visiting a small company that designs and manufactures small scale gas/water systems. Almost as an afterthought my contact said “You might be interested in this…” and took me out into the carpark to see a prototype hydrogen filling station they had built. The company didn’t see itself as saving the world; they were simply looking for future business opportunities. There are plenty of associated services required too – just a mile or two from where I’m typing, Gateshead College runs a booming course in training emergency services how to deal safely with electric vehicles in the case of a road traffic accident.
So the big question for every business is: how long are you going to cling to the old economy before jumping to embrace the new? Do you want to be like the Kodak executives who decided not to embrace the digital photography technology they had invented? Or do you want to be part of the future? The choice is yours!