Whilst it may be expected that the coronavirus crisis has businesses downgrading sustainability targets, surprising data shows the reverse.

The CommBank’s latest survey of almost 900 Australian businesses reveals that before the pandemic, 23% already had a sustainability policy in place with a further 29% intending to implement one.

Since the outbreak of coronavirus, many businesses have doubled down on their goal of enhancing sustainability, with most saying that the pandemic had not changed their pre-existing focus. In fact, for 17% of businesses in the survey, sustainability has become a higher priority because of the new economic conditions. 

Now more than ever, sustainability and the environment is a step in the right direction. Beyond social responsibility and reputation, our research has identified why sustainability practices are still important during these tough times. We’ve also offered some useful tips on how energy efficiency can optimise your business operations.

The need for greater efficiency

According to the survey, four in ten businesses saw this time as an opportunity to improve business efficiency by transitioning to more energy-efficient plant, equipment, and vehicles. Of these, half had already begun the process and the rest were planning this transition. In fact, energy efficiency had emerged as a key area of focus in the coming year for 62% of businesses – a rise of almost 10% since 2019. More surprisingly, the transition to greater energyefficiency is being led by sectors which saw the most significant declines in revenue from coronavirus, including construction (24%) and retail and hospitality (23%).

The survey results also confirmed that coronavirus  has affected businesses differently, depending on their size and sector. While many businesses suffered revenue losses, others had made gains and were seeking opportunities to expand. These expanding businesses appeared to be building energy efficiency into their operations as they grew.

Increasing the energy efficiency of equipment

How much of a focus is increasing the energy efficiency of your plant and equipment in FY21?

 

A helping hand from us

At CommBank, we’re committed to supporting businesses in implementing their sustainability plan and making the most of sustainable equipment available on the market.

We offer an interest rate discount when financing energy-efficient equipment like earthmoving machinery, tractors, trucks and cars. 

We’ve also created a template and guide to help businesses create a sustainability plan from scratch, with helpful tips for implementing an effective and successful plan. 

 

Download business sustainability plan template

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Sylvia Terry, CommBank’s General Manager Asset Finance explains:

“Our Energy Efficient Equipment Finance Solution provides a 0.50% discount on top of what businesses would normally pay for finance.
This year, we have been able to discount our finance rates to help customers invest and update a wide range of assets – from heavy trucks, excavators and buses to forklifts, to tractors and generators. There are over 700 motor vehicles on our eligibility list – and there’s also been strong demand to fund lighting and solar projects.”

5 tips for improving energy efficiency in your business

  1. Adapt your equipment to your needs - The equipment you need depends on the demand in your business. So, if you’re experiencing a slowdown, you should consider whether any equipment is surplus to requirements. For example, if your office is fully equipped, but many staff are working from home, you may be able to rationalise your assets and save on costs.
  2. Keep up with maintenance - Regular preventative maintenance can keep your equipment functioning efficiently and can save on operating and repair costs. Investing in proper maintenance also helps ensure you stay protected by manufacturers’ warranties and can maximise the working life of your equipment. 
  3. Replace inefficient equipment - Replacing old machinery with modern, energy-efficient equipment will reduce your energy bills and save you money over the long term. Equipment that can monitor and manage its own energy use and provide helpful data on its productivity and maintenance schedule may cost more upfront, but can save you time and money over its life.
  4. Automate your energy use. - To help manage your power costs, consider implementing an automated power-management system. These systems let you view and monitor your power use, and can automatically switch equipment, lighting and heating on and off, based on your business’ needs.  
  5. Take advantage of low interest rates. - The current low-rate environment is making it more attractive to use finance to upgrade new business assets – potentially at a lower cost than your existing repayments. CommBank is also currently offering an additional 0.50% discount on qualifying energy-efficient cars and equipment – talk to us to find out more.

Talk to us

To find out more about CommBank’s Asset Finance solutions, visit commbank.com.au/assetfinance or call 1800 ASSETS to access your local Australian based Asset Finance Specialists.

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Things you should know

The CommBank survey statistics used in this article are based on a survey of 906 businesses, conducted by ACA 

Research for CommBank between 23 June and 8 July 2020. All statistics used are from this research unless otherwise stated.