The Government needs to provide more support for businesses to take up energy efficiency measures and “untangle overlapping policies” whilst firms should step up action to cut their costs.
The call from the CBI comes as it suggests more needs to be done to boost energy efficiency as it can help businesses reduce energy bills, manage risks and open up opportunities for growth.
In a new report, the business lobbying group argues energy efficiency has been “neglected for too long” in the wider energy debate despite making an impact on UK growth in recent years. It is therefore urging the Government to “re-double” its efforts to review all the current business energy efficiency policies and provide a “more coherent framework”.
Its research found the vast majority of firms said they had little confidence in the current policies designed to encourage energy efficiency, with only 5% believing the existing policies were effective.
The CBI is also calling the Government to support large and energy-intensive users by using the Business Bank to raise awareness of financial incentives relating to energy efficiency for mid-sized firms and extending the Green Deal to businesses.
Rhian Kelly, CBI Director for Business Environment policy said: “Energy efficiency has sneaked under the radar in the UK’s energy debate and is making a material contribution to UK growth. But there is so much economic and environmental potential that remains unfulfilled. With energy prices still on the rise, energy efficiency can help mitigate the impact on firms, particularly heavy users.
“Businesses are frustrated with the tangle of overlapping policies that are bureaucratic, complex and costly. Some firms will have to report their energy use and emissions in different ways under different schemes so the Government should assess all energy efficiency policies that affect business and come up with a simpler approach where any new initiatives truly add value.”
The report also suggests firms are already reaping the benefits of energy efficiency measures, with large businesses cutting around 15% off their bills. However, the CBI believes there is still a lot of untapped potential in the UK and claims some businesses are collectively paying £1.6 billion more than they need to on their energy bills.
Ms Kelly adds businesses must also play their part: “We have seen progress from many companies but others need to make the leap, showing strong leadership at the top with robust structures put in place to manage energy use.”
The CBI represents around 240,000 businesses which together employ a third of the private sector workforce.
Earlier this year the head of the trade body for the energy industry also highlighted the need for the Government to get new energy efficiency schemes working.