Business management

SMEs training staff to be energy conscious

Many UK firms are taking the initiative to lower fuel bills over the winter by increasing staff training in energy efficiency and following simple steps to minimise energy usage.

Escalating bills have increased the need to save energy and have prompted training to help employees reduce energy usage. Some companies are also implementing staff training aimed at reducing energy consumption when designing new products, says the report.

How staff can reduce energy bills

  • always turn off lights and computers
  • turn down gas boilers
  • use electricity at night when it’s cheaper
  • work remotely when possible
  • close offices at nights and weekends


If you’re looking to lay out an energy-saving strategy for your company, it’s worth taking some time to evaluate your current usage and set a realistic target for the coming six months. Then monitor your consumption and take further steps to cut back, if necessary.

Get your staff involved in the process from the beginning and give them the opportunity to come up with ideas on how everyone can help, then draw up an energy-saving checklist to be followed by the entire workforce.

It’s great news for companies, employees and the environment that businesses are becoming more committed to boosting green skills

Andrew Harrison
Head of Business Banking, NatWest Group

It’s worth taking a few moments to read this guide from the charity Action Renewables. It gives ideas on how to approach the subject with staff and incentivise them to help cut back on their energy consumption at work.

Andrew Harrison, Head of Business Banking at NatWest Group, says: “Energy costs are a huge issue for businesses, as well as households, and it’s clear that SMEs are prioritising skills that will help them establish more energy-efficient practices and help future-proof their business across energy price volatility in the longer term.

“It’s great news for companies, employees and the environment that businesses are becoming more committed to boosting green skills.”

He points out that NatWest’s Springboard to Sustainable Recovery report found that 50% of the UK’s carbon reduction ambition can be delivered by the SME sector.

“This could also unlock a £160bn opportunity for them,” he adds. “Sustainability, recovery and growth go hand-in-hand and SMEs need to be supported to know how to make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead. At NatWest we are doing our best to support them.”

Businesses can reduce their energy bills by employing sustainable business practices and unlocking government grants and incentives that may be available.

How sustainability can lower energy bills

There are many different green incentives available to SMEs, and this guide from Ofgem can help you find out if any are right for your business.

According to the Sustainable Business Tracker report, one in two SMEs and three in four large companies are looking to train staff in energy efficiency over the coming year.

But worries about the business outlook contributed to a fall in the prioritisation of sustainability action among UK SMEs, although larger companies placed energy efficiency as the most sought after type of skill, with 78% looking to pursue training.

Also, in contrast to the trend seen for SMEs, large firms upgraded their low-carbon energy-consumption plans. Some 76% of large firms cited this as a high priority, up from 73% in June, and a survey-record high.

Sustainable product launches picked up since June, with 25% of UK SMEs reporting this as a high priority during the year ahead. Action on supply chain sustainability was unchanged, with 30% of SMEs still citing this as a high priority.

As well as training staff on the importance of cutting back on energy consumption, businesses can employ many other initiatives to help save on bills. This guide from the Energy Saving Trust offers some straightforward steps you can take right away.

The NatWest Sustainable Business Tracker is a quarterly report, designed to monitor business performance and sustainability actions at UK enterprises with 1 – 249 employees. Results are compiled from responses to S&P Global UK Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) surveys.

NatWest Sustainable Business Tracker

Report (PDF, 735KB)

This material is published by NatWest Group plc (“NatWest Group”), for information purposes only and should not be regarded as providing any specific advice. Recipients should make their own independent evaluation of this information and no action should be taken, solely relying on it. This material should not be reproduced or disclosed without our consent. It is not intended for distribution in any jurisdiction in which this would be prohibited. Whilst this information is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by NatWest Group and NatWest Group makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) of any kind, as regards the accuracy or completeness of this information, nor does it accept any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage arising in any way from any use made of or reliance placed on, this information. Unless otherwise stated, any views, forecasts, or estimates are solely those of NatWest Group, as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Copyright © NatWest Group. All rights reserved.

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