Businesses double sustainability focus, consumers blame costs – report


Deloitte has published a new report looking at the interest of both residential and business consumers to invest in sustainable technologies and practices.

The study “Resources 2019 Study – Balancing climate, cost, and choice,” highlights that:

  1. Businesses have intensified their sustainability efforts. Residential consumers have stalled due to cost and complexity of clean energy solutions. Businesses view sustainability as an opportunity to create value
  2. Both residential and business consumers agree on the need to address climate change
  3. About two-thirds of business respondents say their customers are demanding they procure a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable resources, and nearly half of the businesses surveyed are seeking to do so
  4. Residential consumers say it is the duty of the government to set pace for consumer clean energy adoption
  5. Deloitte reiterates that government policies could help overcome consumer reluctance to adopt sustainable technologies
  6. Of the 84% of business respondents aware of recent global climate change reports, nearly two-thirds reviewed or changed their energy management strategies in response, with 83% increasing their commitment
  7. While energy management remains a top priority, with 9 in 10 reporting goals to reduce electricity consumption, most businesses surveyed are also expanding resource management goals in other areas — with water gaining the most ground with an increase from 59% in 2016 to 75% this year
  8. Among residential consumers polled, 67% are very concerned about climate change and their personal carbon footprints, but there was a slight retrenchment in how they felt about the importance of renewable sources of electricity — down to 48% from 53% in 2018
  9. Keeping total energy bills affordable rose five points to 63% in 2019, continuing to be the most important energy issue for residential consumers surveyed, while using clean energy sources fell slightly from 2018 to 50%
  10. Interest by surveyed residential consumers in installing rooftop solar fell from higher levels seen in 2016–17
  11. Surveyed millennials stand out as concerned about climate change and the only generation who consistently rate clean energy and exploring new technology options higher than other age cohorts
  12. Although home automation is at an early stage of deployment (only 2 in 10 of respondents), there are signs adoption is accelerating, with a doubling since 2016 of home device connectivity with smartphones
  13. More businesses are also tying resource management goals to employee compensation, with 48% polled already incorporating energy objectives into goals, the highest level ever
  14. Residential respondents are showing significant interest and intent in EVs, with 26% of respondents saying they are extremely or very interested in purchasing an EV, and 11% planning to replace their current vehicle with an EV.

Marlene Motyka, global renewable energy leader at Deloitte, said: “Consumer complacency may be settling in as costs outweigh climate as a motivator in adopting new technologies and cleaner energy sources.

“On the other hand, most businesses don’t perceive a choice between climate and cost. They see green energy choices as a win-win: doing the ‘right thing’ is good for the environment and the bottom line.”

Stanley Porter, vice chairman of US. energy, resources and industrials leader at Deloitte, said;”For incumbent electricity providers and new entrants, inertia among residential consumers may, paradoxically, provide a competitive advantage.

“Generational preferences for greener energy, more choice, and more appetite for technology could open up markets. By understanding and segmenting the customer base and targeting them with clear and compelling messages through the appropriate channels, providers could break through consumer complacency and expand adoption of new services.”

The annual study was launched in 2010 and includes insights from 600 businesses across multiple sectors, and 1,500 residential consumers.