British Government Looks to Private Sector on Energy Efficiency

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Having major corporations advising government isn’t anything new… but in the UK they have begun a refreshing approach. Instead of having major oil companies and other big polluters working hard to water down any legislation aimed at controlling the damage caused by their operations, the UK is taking a different tack and having some of their most prominent corporations become forces for good.

David Cameron’s government took the decisive step of announcing the goal of a 10% cut in carbon in its first year in power, just days after being elected. Now Cameron has taken another firm step down the road to being the “greenest government ever” and has asked for help from some major players. Tesco, Marks & Spencer, and B&Q owners Kingfisher and HSBC will all be providing advice to the government on how exactly it can achieve this 10% target.

To some, this may seem surprising. How can a supermarket chain, a department store, a home supply store chain and a financial services company be expected to give the UK sound green advice? Simple. They are far ahead of the game and have already become quite green themselves. Super energy saving heroes, if you will.

Take Tesco as an example. In 2007, they were already concerned about the energy efficiency of their stores. In fact, they were so concerned that they had already completed a two-year roll-out of Smartcool technology to 500 Tesco Express stores in order to reduce the energy used by their refrigeration systems. This one measure cut refrigeration energy use by 22%, saving the company thousands of pounds of cash and carbon emissions.

So that’s pretty neat- using the lessons already learned by big business to help government get greener. But perhaps the most impressive part is that they are managing to do this in a coalition government. Aiming for a 10% cut in carbon emissions in a single year sure sounds like green, liberal policy. One which should have Conservatives at the very least worried, if not frothing at the mouth in opposition.

But Cameron has managed to position the issue in a way which allows Conservatives to wholeheartedly get on board. Cutting emissions is not just a good green policy, it is also a brilliant fiscal policy. As Conservative climate minister Greg Baker pointed out to The Guardian, “If you get them by the finances, the hearts and minds will follow.” No kidding.

Saving energy saves money. Isn’t that something everyone can support? Isn’t that something that transcends political affiliations? Isn’t that truly a package with something for everyone?

Isn’t it time everyone else acknowledged this connection, put on some stretchy pants and a cape, and streaked off on the road to energy efficiency?

The world needs more energy efficiency superheroes. We need the stretchy pants superhero fashion to cross the Atlantic and take hold in North America.

Article appearing courtesy Smartcool Energy Blog.

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