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How Utility Companies Can Embrace Their Responsibility to Sustainability

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Jane Marsh's picture
Editor Environment.co

Jane Marsh is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co. She covers topics related to climate policy, sustainability, renewable energy and more.

  • Member since 2020
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  • Apr 13, 2021
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Utility companies today find themselves in the middle of a shifting market. The demand for sustainability is rising, and it’s become clear that this is more than a passing trend. Utilities, which are traditionally responsible for a considerable portion of total emissions, face increasing pressure to become more eco-friendly.

In 2019, the electric power sector alone produced 1.6 billion metric tons of CO2. That accounts for almost a third of total energy-related emissions in the U.S. If the nation is going to fight climate change, utility companies will have to change some of their practices.

Why Utility Companies Should Embrace Responsibility

The growing threat of climate change is the most prevalent reason why utilities should embrace their responsibility to sustainability. It’s not the only one, though. There’s an increasing business case for accepting this responsibility.

Taking responsibility for your choices and their consequences demonstrates integrity and honesty to the public. Clients will trust and appreciate businesses more if they showcase this maturity and sense of duty. As the public becomes more aware of the need for sustainability, taking ownership of one’s actions in this area becomes increasingly crucial.

With that in mind, here’s how utility companies can embrace their responsibility to sustainability.

Investing in Renewables

Perhaps the most straightforward way utility companies can take ownership of their environmental responsibility is to invest in renewables. Most utilities, from electricity to water, rely on fossil fuels in some form or another. By switching to energy sources like solar or wind, they can reduce their environmental footprint.

Energy companies can provide customers with the option to get their electricity from wind farms. Water services can use solar panels to power their pumping or aeration operations. If options like this aren’t yet viable for some utility companies, they can still invest in renewables by buying carbon offsets.

Embracing Sustainable Business Practices

Renewable energy is becoming more accessible and efficient every day, but it’s not always viable for every business. Thankfully, there are other ways utilities can embrace their environmental responsibility, too. Adopting more efficient systems or implementing sustainable technologies can also lessen your carbon footprint.

Carbon capture and storage technologies are an increasingly popular option for businesses. These systems can remove up to 90% of carbon emissions from a company’s operations. If carbon capture is too expensive, there are plenty of other options, too.

Even seemingly insignificant changes can have a considerable impact. For example, replacing old HVAC equipment with Energy Star-certified alternatives can improve efficiency by 15% in some areas. Offering these replacement and upgrade services to customers will demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and affordability.

Being Transparent With Customers

Another way utility companies can embrace their responsibility to sustainability is to adopt a policy of transparency. Assessing and publishing your environmental impact helps keep track of how your choices affect sustainability. It also demonstrates accountability and trustworthiness to customers.

A company that didn’t care about its environmental impact wouldn’t make resources about it readily available for clients. Answering customers’ concerns on the subject showcases that utilities take their sustainability seriously. Clients will appreciate the transparency, and businesses can benefit from the benchmarking opportunities and customer feedback.

All Utility Companies Should Take Sustainability Seriously

Utility companies have a considerable impact on the environment, whether they realize it or not. As climate issues become more pressing and customers demand more sustainability, these companies must address this issue. Owning up to this responsibility can help protect the environment and encourage customer loyalty.

As sustainability becomes more important to the public, companies that don’t embrace it will fall behind. Utility companies can act on this shift early and start taking responsibility for their ecological impact now.

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