Published on 21st February 2023



It’s no secret that the past few years have been a challenging time for the UK, from dealing with the hottest day on record last year to the political uncertainty that is dominating the daily headlines. One facet that both of these – and many other aspects of our day to day lives – have in common, is that climate change is playing an ever-increasing role.

Organisations are under growing pressure from both peers and consumers alike to put in place robust sustainability strategies to ensure their operations are having as little impact as possible on the natural world.

Despite this, towards the end of last year, Veulio1 released some research revealing that less than a third of UK businesses and organisations actually had a net zero strategy in place. Rising bills and soaring inflation –have forced industry to prioritise keeping costs down – but organisations must now look at net zero as a priority. There is a real need to find a balance between reducing carbon footprints and being fiscally responsible, while understanding that sustainable practices can save money and create opportunities in the long term.

This is no less important for the public sector – a group that the public looks to as leaders in responsible, forward-thinking practices. If sustainability leads have not begun to put in place a strategy, now is the time to start.

There are a whole host of factors that need to be included in a public sector sustainability strategy, but there are three big priorities that not only make operations a lot greener, but can also save money; utilising metering data, investing in zero carbon electricity and energy solutions.

Utilising metering data

The first and most important step in your journey is being able to access and understand your energy data. Like any project, decision makers need to know what they’re working with and where they’re starting from so they can understand where to make improvements. The more granularity in your data, the more you can do with it – such as understanding the busiest times of the day, where waste is happening, and identify opportunities.

Not only that, you’ll have access to the data you need to measure the success or return on investment (ROI) of any efficiency measures you’ve put in place – helping you to justify budgets, demonstrate cost or carbon savings, and make future investment cases.

Improving energy efficiency can be as simple as monitoring consumption more closely and cutting back, or can be a little more ambitious in installing new features to improve capabilities.

Investing in zero carbon electricity

This is one of the biggest ways that public sector organisations can make operations greener and reduce their carbon footprint.

Whether as simple as selecting your energy contract to be backed by a renewable or zero carbon nuclear energy source from the grid, saving 182g of CO2 per kWh (based on UK average fuel mix April 2020 – March 2021).

Investing in energy solutions

In addition to improvements within facilities such as insulation and lighting, there are a great number of energy solutions available that can reduce your organisation’s carbon impact.

By focusing on these three pillars and continually striving to embed them in a wider business strategy, public sector organisations will put themselves in a strong position to hit their sustainability goals and contribute to our collective efforts to achieve net zero.
The public sector has the opportunity to lead from the front and set an example for others to follow. For me, it’s the hope that more and more businesses and organisations begin looking for guidance on how to reduce their carbon footprints and play their part, no matter their size or journey to date.

Sharon Sage, Director & Senior Manager of Public Sector, EDF