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As 2017 begins and we get deeper into winter, some business owners are feeling left out in the cold. Faced with rising energy and fuel costs, business owners are once more feeling stretched to their limits.

 

There has been plenty of talk about creative ways for companies to reduce energy costs, especially those in Canada’s Maritime Provinces and Ontario. However, one thing that business owners should note is that being forward-thinking when it comes to reducing energy costs will not only lower their operating costs, it can also serve as a cornerstone for environmental stewardship.

 

Defined as the “responsible use and protection of the natural environment through conservation and sustainable practices,” environmental stewardship is becoming more important as consumers demand that the companies in their city and country do their share to preserve the environment.

 

Thankfully many of the same initiatives that help cut energy costs can also go toward creating an environmentally focused stewardship agenda. Whether they are small initiatives, like using reduced energy light bulbs and Energy Star certified office appliances and machines, or larger efforts, like installing energy efficient heating and cooling systems or using electric vehicles, every green effort a business makes reduces its energy and operating costs and also makes its operations more friendly to the environment.

 

According to a Corporate and Social Responsibility report released in 2015, 84 percent of global consumers said they seek out responsible products and businesses whenever possible.   That’s a significant number.

 

“The research has revealed an increasingly sophisticated consumer,” says Jennifer Ciuffo Clark, research director of the report. “Global consumers have high demands for companies to address social and environmental issues. It’s critical for companies to understand the nuanced drivers, barriers and opportunities that resonate among discerning global audiences.”

 

Plain and simple: establishing a brand that’s associated with a commitment to the environment is one of the best ways to attract new customers. And one of the first steps a business can make toward being greener is analyzing their energy use and looking for ways to make their operations more energy efficient.

 

Indeed, in recent years, as energy costs have escalated, an entire industry has been built around helping small, medium and large businesses use energy more efficiently.

 

Energy management firms like Ontario’s Active Business Services provide custom energy assessments to their business clients that evaluate the company’s energy needs and then provide detailed energy strategies to reduce consumption and costs.   Assessments provided by Active Business Services, a company that has a team with 100 years of combined experience in the energy industry, also offer an evaluation of a business’ electricity and natural gas sources and guidance on whether their current energy procurement is working in the business’ favor and, if not, how it can be changed.

 

As 2017 begins, there’s plenty of uncertainty in the air. How will Brexit impact global relations? How will the United States’ new President, Donald Trump, influence relations between Canada and the United States, and more specifically, how will the new administration’s energy policies impact Canada’s energy sector? Uncertainty is never a good thing for small and medium-sized businesses. But, the good news is that, regardless of how uncertain the rest of the world is, business owners can always take steps to better manage their company’s energy consumption and costs for the good of their own business and the environment.

 

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