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Routes to deliver net zero

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By David Kipling, CEO – On-Site Energy

Businesses have complicated energy needs, particularly those that use a lot of thermal energy such as for steam or ovens.  Achieving net zero is going to require elements of re-engineering, re-thinking business processes, adopting new technology and changing energy purchasing strategy. But is it even possible in the current climate when those decisions will also directly affect the P&L through changed operating costs.

The main routes to net zero most businesses consider are:

  • Buy green tariffs – and hope they won’t be looked-through as “green-washing”. SECR reporting is starting to highlight energy intensity (how many kWh of energy your company uses to produce 1 kg of product) – which will aim direct comparison with competitors
  • Electrification – and hope the Government will make good on its promises to decarbonise the electricity grid
  • Await Hydrogen to move off gas – another big “if”. When or will it be commercially viable and available ?
  • Invest in energy efficiency

The problem with approaches (1) – (3)  is they will have failed to deliver the change that your customers are looking for anytime up to at least 2030. That could put your business at a competitive disadvantage. Also you are fully exposed to market volatility with these routes.

We believe the right path is option (4), to invest in reducing your energy intensity and also consider low-carbon generation solutions.  This way you reduce your CO2 footprint, reduce your exposure to the grid and are in control of your costs. Also bear in mind that the third round of ESOS is less than 2 years away, and its likely to be mandatory to enact the recommendations of the auditor.  In that ESOS round there is going to be an even greater focus on action on energy efficiency.

The challenge is keeping operating costs under control whilst achieving progress towards decarbonising and deciding when to adopt new technologies.  With a recession looking likely, capital availability may also become more difficult.  We can help deliver measures without any capex from you, using our zero-capex energy partnership solution.

If you would like to discuss how to be more energy efficient and accelerate your net zero strategy, please contact David Kipling, CEO – On-Site Energy on 0151 271 0037 or email  david@on-site.energy (www.on-site.energy).

UK offshore companies to invest £250bn in low-carbon energy

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The UK’s offshore energy producers are to invest £200-£250 billion by 2030 to provide the nation with secure and increasingly low carbon energy, according to research by Offshore Energies UK (OEUK).

It has assessed the spending plans of offshore energy companies operating in UK waters, looking at their investment plans over this decade. OEUK represents 400 leading companies and organisations involved in  energy production in the North Sea, Irish Sea and near Atlantic, including oil, gas and offshore wind.

The findings suggest around 60% of the investments will be spent building renewable and low carbon energy infrastructure, such as offshore wind and systems for capturing CO2 for permanent disposal in deep rock formations.

Such investments are just a fraction of what is needed for the UK to reach net zero – the point at which it generates no overall greenhouse gas emissions. The UK government’s target for achieving this is 2050. The Office for Budgetary Responsibility (OBR) has put the cost of reaching net zero at £1.4 trillion and has said £1 trillion of this money must come from UK companies.

Some companies have already set out their investment plans. This week BP, one of the largest UK oil and gas producers, announced plans to invest up to £18 billion in the UK’s energy system by the end of 2030. Most of its plans are for offshore wind and other low-carbon projects such as mass hydrogen production and CO2 capture.
Shell has said it will invest £25 billion into UK energy systems over the next decade with 75% of the investment in low-carbon products and services including offshore wind and hydrogen production.

Such pledges support OEUK’s own research findings, that the biggest investments over the next decade will come from oil and gas companies transitioning to low-carbon alternatives, and that offshore wind would be the biggest beneficiary, including:

  • £70 billion-plus in capital investment, adding 40 gigawatts of capacity to the 10Gw already built
  • £20 billion in operational expenditure – maintaining and operating wind farm infrastructure
  • Investment in people: Building a workforce skilled in constructing and maintaining offshore infrastructure is becoming a priority for offshore operators and their supply chains.

Other low carbon technologies will attract billions more, including:

  • £20 billion in mass hydrogen production and carbon capture transport and storage plants

Oil and gas will remain vital for many years, albeit in decreasing amounts, so energy companies are planning further investments to ensure the UK can meet as much of its own needs as possible.

  • £25 billion to open new oil and gas fields or expand existing resource
  • £50 billion to maintain or improve existing infrastructure – much of which is ageing
  • £15 billion to decommission infrastructure that has become redundant.

Such figures must be treated with caution as the spending plans of different companies are at different stages and not all are fully committed. However, based on past trends, the overall amounts are likely to increase significantly as time goes by.

The research coincides with a surge in the tax revenue being generated for the UK exchequer by the UK offshore sector.

  • £20 million/day OBR estimate of how much UK tax is currently being paid by offshore oil and gas companies – more than double what they were paying a year ago.
  • £7.8 billion Total UK tax income from offshore oil and gas companies for this financial year – more than double the £3.1 billion paid last year. (OBR prediction)

Ross Dornan, OEUK’s market intelligence manager, who oversaw the research, said he expected to see offshore energy companies investing up to £150 billion in renewable and low-carbon projects, plus another £90 billion in oil and gas projects by 2030. Most of the investments would be from companies transitioning from oil and gas into low-carbon energy.

“The UK’s energy companies are leading perhaps the most ambitious and far-reaching energy transition our nation has ever seen. They are providing the UK with energy now, mostly from oil and gas, while working to replace those fuels with low-carbon alternatives.

“It means we must invest in our existing oil and gas reserves to protect the UK against the global prices spikes and possible shortages generated by crises like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while also spending billions on the energies of the future.

“The amounts being spent are far greater than any sums that might be raised by a windfall tax but what policymakers need to understand is the sheer scale, not just of the investments but also of the ambition. The UK could become a world leader in low-carbon and renewable energy – but to achieve that we need long-term thinking by planners and policymakers.

“Above all we need a stable and predictable set of rules governing the way the industry is taxed and regulated. “We are proud to pay our taxes and support the UK’s net zero targets but if those rules keep changing it will undermine confidence, drive investors away and make the UK’s net zero targets impossible to achieve.”

5 Minutes With… On-Site Energy’s David Kipling

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In the latest instalment of our energy management industry executive interview series we speak to On-Site Energy CEO David Kipling about rising energy costs, what we can all do to manage through that challenge and how the path to Net Zero presents an opportunity for us all…

Tell us about your company, products and services.

DK:  The inspiration for ON-SITE came from my previous role where I led a team addressing energy in over 100 manufacturing plants globally.  We saw the value of data-led energy analysis in identifying more than 50% savings but we found in practice we could only execute those measures with a short payback.

With the pressure now on achieving better sustainability, and on reducing costs, companies are going to have to find a way of doing the longer payback measures that until now sit on the shelf.   This is what ON-SITE is about – we help unblock long payback capex and enable the measures to happen.  We work with our customers to identify measures with a data-led approach, and then implement them using our money, with no contribution from the customer.  We effectively keep some of the savings to pay for our returns, and pass the remainder on to the customer through lower energy costs.  This way we can also help companies embrace net zero much faster.

We work with energy intensive manufacturing companies, and cover a wide range of technologies including efficiency measures, onsite generation and heat recovery.  We think its important to identify the most appropriate measures and which will have most impact, so we keep an open mind on what we recommend and are instead guided by the data.

What have been the biggest challenges the Energy Management industry has faced over the past 12 months?

DK:  The crisis of rising energy costs that started last Autumn has brought sharp focus on energy costs for many.   It really has shown the value of energy hedging but also the risks of what happens when your hedge ends and you face the market again.    Our view is the best way of defending your business from the market prices in the long term is (1)  consume less through investing in energy efficiency measures and (2) invest in your own generation, which is usually much cheaper and efficient, so that between these two steps you minimise your exposure..

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

DK:  Net Zero.  Most significant businesses now have a sustainability strategy with goals for achieving carbon neutral, but a lot have also had capex capped for at least the next few years because of COVID-19.  The pressure for change is building, and the main obstacles are capex and sometimes innovation.   We can help with both of these with our zero capex approach, and enable companies to stay on track or even accelerate their plans.

What is the biggest priority for the Energy Management industry in 2022?

DK: I would say that underlying its still decarbonisation, but the cost pressures of the last six months means that reducing energy costs on a long term basis will take priority.

Fundamentally your business needs to be viable to be sustainable, so costs need to be addressed..  The good news is that sustainability improvement goes hand in hand with savings, so accelerating your sustainability plans can also mean lower energy costs.

The biggest challenge will be decarbonisation of heat – in other words planning to switch from gas to electricity.  This will be a massive change for gas hungry businesses.  I think this will be an increasing priority given the recent cost of gas, and increasing talk about hydrogen (albeit that’s still years away). For a lot of businesses that will mean significant additional cost unless they develop a comprehensive approach and plan.

What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2022/23?

DK:  I see two things – there is going to be a bigger push on onsite generation to reduce costs, and also the next round of ESOS is due by end 2023, and its likely it will be mandatory by then to have to enact the measures reported.  Its going to result in a lot of challenges to auditor findings, but its also going to bring a focus on getting ahead of the game and being proactive in addressing points.

What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year?

DK:     I think its going to be solar PV.  Its cheap, fairly fast to deploy and can provide some relief for businesses against the high energy costs.     The issue is its usually limited impact in manufacturer’s energy costs.  For much larger savings you can’t beat CHP currently, but the key is using the heat constructively to reduce other fossil fuels.

In 2025 we’ll all be talking about…?

DK:  100% Hydrogen-ready CHP.  The technology already is in market, but there isn’t much hydrogen available to use it.   Whilst the initial reaction for some is its more gas usage, CHP could be the transition technology to 24/7 zero carbon onsite generation once hydrogen is available.

Which person in, or associated with, the Energy Management industry would you most like to meet?

DK:  Lisa Rose of Forum Events (again) !   Lisa’s an enthusiast and is great at making people talk.  We need more Lisa’s !    It was good to get back to some face to face networking last year at the energy management event in London.  Looking forward to this October.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the Energy Management sector?

DK:  I think people enjoy learning about opportunities they hadn’t previously known about, which can be brought about by new technologies .  It’s an exciting space which is innovating fast.  It also has a meaningful impact on both business profits and on climate change and sustainability, so the people in the Energy Management space are often driven by the benefits they can deliver.

You go to the bar at the Energy Management Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?

DK:  Mine’s a pint !

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

DK:  Delivering new insights and levels of savings not thought possible

And what’s the most challenging?

DK:  Countering the “we’ve seen it before” response.   Reality is if they saw exactly “it” previously, then “it” has either changed massively or it wasn’t approached in the way we would use it.  It doesn’t hurt to take 15 minutes to see if you can learn something.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

DK:  A quick “no” is better than a slow “no”.

Peaky Blinders or Stranger Things?

DK:   My TV watching is limited to repeats of Top Gear.

SPIE secures five-year FM contract with NHS NSS

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SPIE UK has been appointed by NHS National Services Scotland to deliver planned and reactive maintenance of mechanical and electrical assets across nine National Services Scotland (NSS) properties in Glasgow, Scotland.

Under the five-year contract (three plus two), SPIE UK will be responsible for managing mechanical and electrical assets and will undertake planned and reactive maintenance. Sustainability is at the forefront of the work, which includes collaborating with the NHS Energy team to develop and promote energy conservation and technology improvements throughout the term of the contract.

Properties included within the scope represent critical infrastructure for the running of NHS services throughout Scotland, including NHS 24 call centres and the National Distribution Centres which distributes essential stock to hospitals throughout Scotland. To further add value, SPIE UK will be supplying energy management services to NHS NSS.

The SPIE UK team will be offering building energy surveys, an introduction of an energy management platform, behavioral analysis, and life cycle analysis.

Jim Skivington, Divisional Managing Director at SPIE UK, said: “NHS National Services Scotland works at the heart of the health service, providing national strategic support services and expert advice to NHS Scotland. SPIE UK being awarded this five-year contract is a testament to our excellence in delivering a range of specialist planned, reactive and statutory maintenance and Facility Management services. With our combined engineering ingenuity, excellent management capabilities and technological know-how, SPIE is best placed to deliver these works efficiently.”

APAC to lead global battery energy storage market

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The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is set to lead the global battery energy storage market, accounting for 68% of the global market value through 2026, with China, Japan, India, South Korea and Australia propelling the regional market.

That’s according to GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Battery Energy Storage Market Size, Share and Trends Analysis by Technology, Installed Capacity, Generation, Drivers, Constraints, Key Players and Forecast, 2021-2026’, which reveals that the global market for the battery energy storage is estimated to grow to $10.84bn in 2026, out of which APAC will account for $7.33bn.

Bhavana Sri Pullagura, Senior Power Analyst at GlobalData, said: “Fall in battery technology prices, increasing need for grid stability and resilience of the integration of renewable power in the power market are some major factors that contribute to the growth.”

China, one of the fastest-growing economies, is expected to lead the global battery energy storage market with $4.04bn in 2026. A mammoth target of 1,200 GW of wind and solar capacity will provide considerable growth opportunities to the energy storage market over the forecast period.

China, South Korea, the US, Germany, and the UK will be the major markets on the back of supportive regulations and incentives.

Pullagura added: “The rapid growth in demand for electricity and the wider use of renewable integration will keep the demand for battery energy storage market buoyant in other countries, leading to a significant growth in the market over the forecast period. Grid transformations, improving electrification rates, and electricity provisions for the rapidly growing population will create market opportunities.”

Over the last decade, various new digital and smart technologies have been integrated. Countries have been aggressively promoting the modernization of grids and enhancing the grids’ capability to meet the requirements of the present and future. Additionally, batteries are being deployed to aid smart grids, integrate renewables, create responsive electricity markets, provide ancillary services, and enhance both system resilience and energy self-sufficiency.

Pullagura concluded: “GlobalData believes that encouraging policies and high electricity charges are also nudging the market to renewables and/or storage plus renewables at the end consumer level. As the power sector evolves to accommodate new technologies and adapt to varying market trends, energy storage will play a crucial role in the transition and transformation of the power sector.”

Do we have to live with higher energy prices ?

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By David Kipling, CEO – On-Site Energy Ltd

The hikes in energy costs on the past 6 months have been nothing short of game-changing. But are they just a spike or are they here to stay ?

At 25 March 2022, the Winter=22 forward energy wholesale price for electricity was 23.2p/kWh and gas 9.0p/kWh.  You need to add non-energy costs and taxes to these, so more realistically electricity will be over 30p/kWh and gas around 10p/kWh.  Looking out to winter 2024 electricity is still at 11 p/kWh and gas is 4p/kWh.  That means Winter 2024 is double what was the norm in the first half of 2021.

So the current “crisis” prices are unlikely to subside to pre-crisis levels, and if you do nothing about it, you are going to have to learn to live with levels at least 100% more than they were in 2021.  How is this going to impact your business or its ability to decarbonise ?

But you don’t have to settle for these prices.  The steps you can take are: (1) reduce consumption through energy efficiency measures and (2) utilise onsite generation to reduce the amount of energy you draw from the grid.

Typically averaged cost of solar PV over its life is less than 8p/kWh and CHP can save around £400,000 per annum per MW installed even with the projected gas prices. With savings like these, every business should be looking at these options.

If you are not sure where to start with energy efficiency measures or onsite generation, we can help. For qualifying companies, we undertake initial evaluations free of charge and can also provide fully funded solutions so that capex needn’t be a barrier. We can also ensure that what is being proposed aligns with your sustainability goals.

If you would like to discuss how to avoid these high grid costs and have a more manageable energy cost for your business, please contact David Kipling, CEO – On-Site Energy Ltd on 0151 271 0037 or email  david@on-site.energy (www.on-site.energy).

5 ways to manage higher energy costs & shrink your carbon footprint

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High energy prices are causing pain for all organisations. But what can you do to tackle rising costs and reduce your carbon footprint?

It’s impossible to predict the future twists and turns of the energy markets, so it’s essential to find smart new ways to manage energy costs and carbon emissions.

Centrica Business Solutions’ energy cost reduction guide reveals five opportunities to use energy sustainably for financial and environmental gain.

5 proven ways to manage cost and carbon reduction

  1. 1. Drive energy efficiency through data. Advanced energy insight technologies provide full visibility of your site-wide energy consumption. This enables you to identify hidden efficiency opportunities, pinpoint operational vulnerabilities; and inform investment and optimisation opportunities.
  2. Generate and store your own low-cost, low carbon power supply. Falling technology costs and higher wholesale energy prices are strengthening the economic case for installing solar PV and battery storage. The return on investment for solar projects has recently increased by a third. For one client we were predicting annual energy savings of £43,000 six months ago, which has now risen to £78,000.
  3. Unlock revenue & cost saving opportunities. By ‘load shifting’ operations with high energy demands from peak periods to a time when energy costs are lower you save on energy bills. Use distributed energy assets, such as solar battery storage systems to unlock flexibility revenues or to provide a green back-up power supply.
  4. Become a sustainable business and gain competitive advantage. Get ahead of increasing energy costs and carbon taxes plus tighter regulation, such as the upcoming Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
  5. Use finance solutions to invest in new energy technology. There are many opportunities to use Opex-based finance, such as our Energy as a Service option, which removes risk, time and financial pressures.

Centrica Business Solutions are experts in delivering integrated sustainable energy projects – helping you to improve your cost, environmental & operational performance.

Download our guide: ‘5 Opportunities to manage energy costs’

UN urges G20 countries to invest in nature-based climate change solutions

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A new report, titled The State of Finance for Nature in the G20, stresses the urgency of increasing net-zero and nature-positive investments if the world is to adequately close the climate finance gap.

The report is led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Economic Forum, the Economics of Land Degradation, hosted by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit in collaboration with Vivid Economics.

It further amplifies the findings from the global report State of Finance for Nature – Tripling Investments in Nature-based Solutions by 2030, released last year, which calls for closing a $4.1 trillion financing gap in nature-based solutions.

The new report reveals that the spending gap in non-G20 countries is larger and more difficult to bridge than in G20 countries, but only 2% of the G20’s $120 billion investment has been directed towards official development assistance (ODA). Similarly, private sector investments remain small, at 11% or $14 billion a year, even though the private sector contributes 60% of the total national GDP in most G20 countries. Thus, the business and investment case for nature needs to be stronger.

The report also discloses that G20 investments represent 92% of all global investments in nature-based solutions in 2020. Furthermore, the vast majority of these G20 investments, 87% or $105 billion, were distributed to domestic government programmes.

Annual G20 investments in nature-based solutions need to increase by at least 140% to meet all agreed biodiversity, land restoration and climate targets by 2050, which means an additional $165 billion a year, especially in ODA and private sector spending. To put this into perspective, more than $14.6 trillion was spent by 50 leading economies in 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, of which only $368 billion, or 2%, was considered “green” by a 2021 UNEP report.

Globally, future investment in nature-based solutions needs to increase fourfold by 2050, equating to an annual investment of over $536 billion a year. The future investment needs for G20 countries account for approximately 40% of this total global investment in 2050. G20 countries have the capacity to meet this investment need as they carry out most of the global economic and financial activity with fiscal leeway.

Justin Adams, Director for Nature-Based Solutions, World Economic Forum, said: “The climate and nature crisis are two sides of the same coin, and we can’t turn things around unless we transform our economic models and market systems to take nature’s full value into account.”

The new report also calls for G20 member states to seize opportunities to increase investment in non-G20 countries, which can often be more cost-effective and efficient than investing in similar nature-based solutions internally.

Nina Bisom, Coordinator of Economics for the Land Degradation Initiative, said: “In many instances, G20 countries can improve economic efficiency in nature-based solutions spending by targeting investments in non-G20 countries. For example, the average cost of converting land from other uses to nature-based solutions in G20 countries is $2,600 per hectare, while the same costs are only $2,100 per hectare for non-G20 regions.”

Ivo Mulder, Head of UNEP’s Climate Finance Unit, said: “To scale up private finance, governments can boost the investment case for nature, for instance, by creating stable and predictable markets for ecosystem services like agriculture, forestry or by employing concessional financing.”

He added: “Systemic changes are needed at all levels, including consumers paying the true price of food, taking into account its environmental footprint. Companies and financial institutions should fully disclose climate- and nature-related financial risks, and governments need to repurpose agricultural fiscal policies and trade-related tariffs.”

The report concludes that governments need to truly “build back better” following the pandemic. Many developed countries can borrow cheaply in international capital markets. Thus, they need to tie in “nature and climate conditions” when providing fiscal stimulus to sectors across their economies, as well as creating more favourable regulatory, fiscal and trade policies to transition economies so that international biodiversity, climate and land degradation targets are met. G20 nations have the ability and means to lead by example.

Nexans enters into €200 million loan facility with European Investment Bank

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The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a €200 million loan facility to Nexans to accelerate its active role in the world’s energy transition and commitment to contribute to  carbon neutrality by 2030.

The EIB loan covers financing of R&D and new product developments, investments aiming at increasing digital plants and energy efficiency transformation as well as the expansion of Halden plant in Norway.

Electrification is a key step of the world’s energy transition and is gaining traction within the EIB as Europe is engaging in further decarbonation. Early February 2021, Nexans announced its ambition to add two new lines for high voltage DC export cables manufacturing at its Halden plant by 2024. These HVDC cables are a key enabler of the European energy transition as they are key component of building  interconnections between European countries to mitigate intermittence of energy from renewable sources.

Since 2020, Nexans has been working to accelerate its transformation into a data-driven company. The ongoing digitization of the Group’s factories will further improve the efficiency of its production lines, paving the way for predictive maintenance and reducing carbon emissions. The EIB financing will support part of the planned associated investments, helping Nexans to meet its commitments to contribute to carbon neutrality by 2030.

Finally, the loan facility will enable Nexans to intensify R&D projects aiming to optimize cable performance and design, improve fire safety and enhance circular economy through the use of recycled materials and recycling. The financing will also scale up innovations from Nexans’ Cloud Digital Factory and Design Labs in the areas of digital services and connected solutions such as INFRABIRD and VIGISHIELD which are concrete examples of the Group’s transformation from products to systems and solutions.

Christopher Guérin, CEO of Nexans, said: “We are pleased to be able to boost our investment and innovation activities to amplify electrification thanks to the commitment from EIB and the strong support they are showing. This financing facility will allow us to lead the energy transition of Europe in a sustainable way by strengthening our innovations and ability to reduce carbon emission in our operations.”

“Nexans’ ambitions and strategy are fully aligned with the EIB’s priorities on climate, environment and innovation. For the European Investment Bank, supporting industries taking action to address the climate emergency is key” stated EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. “The expansion of Nexans’ plant in Halden serving infrastructure for renewable energies, as well as the digital transformation of the production tool, are some tangible illustrations of Nexans’ clear roadmap to which the EIB’s financing will be allocated”.

Click here to buy: How retail delivery can help Britain meet its Net Zero target

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Online deliveries – is there anything more convenient? You browse through endless options, click on the product that tickles your fancy, and wait for it to arrive from the comfort of your settee.

There is no hiding that this practice has surged over the last 18 months or so, incentivised by lockdowns and unsettling times. From food shopping to wardrobe makeovers, customers have been placing their orders and waiting for the delivery man to knock on their front door. However, there are growing concerns over the impact this has on our environment. So, it’s time to rethink the way in which retailers cater to such high delivery demands.

As our planet finds itself under severe pressure, governments have adhered to the so-called Net Zero Emissions Race. The goal is to drastically bring down the release of toxic gases into the atmosphere. The UK, specifically, has committed to a legally binding net-zero target which needs to be achieved by 2050. It is safe to say that, with the increased use of online delivery services, retailers have a significant part to play in helping the country meet its aim.

With this in mind, we take a look at how retail deliveries can become more eco-friendly and sustainable.

Transport issues

It is no secret that it takes some sort of vehicle to drop off a parcel on our doorstep. If you have ordered your weekly shop, a pair of new jeans, and a tasty Chinese takeaway, it is very likely that at least three different vehicles have hit the road and stopped outside your house in one day.

Unfortunately, regular home deliveries do our environment no favours whatsoever. This becomes particularly unsettling when realising that transport holds the unenviable reputation of being Britain’s largest emitting sector of greenhouse gases. As a result, the UK government has already set out plans to decarbonise the transport system. From 2030, for instance, petrol and diesel vehicles can no longer be sold. By 2035, instead, all cars and vans on UK roads will have to put out zero emissions.

As things stand, though, retail deliveries can have a significant, negative impact on everyone’s carbon footprint. This is especially true in multi-item orders. In fact, two products that are shipped separately will generate 35% more emissions than if they were delivered together.

To eradicate the problem from the outset, switching to electric vehicles would massively nullify gas emissions. Yes, buying a fleet of electric delivery vans may seem a costly and inaccessible solution. But the reality is that there are affordable van leasing deals that would help businesses kickstart their eco-friendly deliveries in an efficient, cost-effective manner.

You will be glad to hear, moreover, that this is not the only sustainable option. What else can be done?

Decrease trips

As already mentioned, delivering products separately certainly doesn’t help the environment. It would be wise, instead, to limit the number of trips to a customer’s house and substantially cut down on emissions. An effective way to ditch those multiple delivery journeys is to combine as many orders as possible. It is important to plan your itinerary carefully, organising routes to minimise mileage.

Limit returns

One of the perks of online shopping is that many retailers offer return services. Most of the time, clients can benefit from this option free of charge. This is surely an excellent strategy to encourage customers to buy multiple items at once. While retailers may find it to be good business, in truth, it’s no bed of roses.

In fact, a study suggests that 30% of web shoppers purposely over-order and later send back items they are not particularly keen on. Apart from affecting the finances of the retailer, extensive returns are highly detrimental to the planet. To limit the number of avoidable return trips, retailers may want to consider eliminating free return options. This way, customers will be more inclined to think twice before ordering products they don’t really like, want, or need.

Another way to help reduce the high rate of returns could be to enhance product descriptions on businesses’ websites. With extensive information about the item and good-quality pictures, clients will be able to make more conscious decisions – and, consequently, fewer reckless orders.

Reduce packaging

As the saying goes, “good things come in small packages”. Why wrap a mug inside a parcel that could easily fit a cutlery set? Not only does it occupy unnecessary room in the back of the van, but it also has a negative effect on the environment – especially if it is not recyclable.

Moreover, reusable packaging is incredibly useful. To make return services more sustainable, reusable boxes allow customers to send products back inside their original parcel – which, in turn, can be repurposed by the retailer for another delivery.

Finally, plastic packaging is widely used for deliveries. A fundamental way to becoming more eco-friendly is to ditch plastic containers and resort to recycled cardboard parcels boxes instead. These can then be recycled or used for storage.

As the UK works hard to reach the all-important net-zero goal, we are all called to play our part in safeguarding the environment. With an astounding rise in online deliveries, retailers will have to tweak their plans of action to become more sustainable.