The British Retail Consortium’s latest push to promote energy efficiency in retail has highlighted the problem of mistrust when it comes to investing in energy-saving measures. The initiative – designed to cut carbon emissions by 25 per cent in the sector by 2020 – highlights scepticism over finance schemes as one of the reasons there has been so little take-up of energy-efficient upgrades in retail.
A suite of ‘complex and inaccessible’ energy policies has been pegged as the underlying reason for hesitancy, not to mention competing budget allowances and promises that sound too good to be true.
In retail, the motivation for upgrades is almost always increasing sales rather than cutting costs”
Any retailer that has made it through the recent economic crisis intact will only have one goal in mind: sales. Energy-efficient upgrades come second to shop refits and measures to improve the positioning of products.
When we raise the idea of lighting finance schemes with customers, we try to tune into their motivations for upgrading. In the retail sector, this is nearly always increasing sales, rather than reducing energy or maintenance costs.
We find that clients can be wary of finance schemes that sound ‘too good to be true’. But the truth is, many of these schemes really are as good as they look. Our lighting finance scheme, for instance, allows clients to pay for the cost of their upgrade through monthly payments which are outweighed by the savings made on energy bills. Schemes like this are an easy way for organisations to reduce bills and improve working environments through better lighting.
Companies that offer finance for energy-efficiency upgrades need to tune into the priorities of the organisations they are selling to. Without an industry-wide rethink of this approach, uptake of finance schemes will continue to be slow and we’ll be wasting opportunities to grow sales, improve working environments and reduce energy consumption.
Bob Hall is managing director of Greenlite Lighting Solutions