Cost of trading

How you could cut costs

Help to save when times are tough

We’ve put together a quick visual to show you where costs could be hiding that you may not have thought of. There’s also support from a checklist to see if becoming more environmentally conscious could save you money.

Watch out for hidden costs

All businesses have hidden costs associated with unnoticed energy consumption - Here are some to watch out for:

How you could save money successfully – quick checklist

Here's a few ideas that could help you be more sustainable.

1. Use online resources to do an energy audit

Simply reducing the amount of energy you use is one of the easiest ways to save money and lower your carbon footprint. There’s simple checklists that’ll guide you through assessing your current sources of energy use while highlighting opportunities for improvements. Similarly, the NatWest Carbon Planner tool helps businesses understand the impact of their day-to-day activities on the environment. Actions might include behaviour changes, adjusting settings or upgrades with quick payback periods.

Carbon Planner

Could cutting your carbon cut your costs? Reducing emissions for your business is challenging. With limited resources and multiple priorities, it can be hard to decide where to focus your efforts.

Carbon Planner is free and could support you to become a more sustainable and climate conscious organisation, and help you to identify potential cost and carbon savings too.

2. Access government funding

Your business may qualify for a grant for an energy efficiency upgrade through Government schemes. There’s a variety of schemes out there and it’s worth seeing what’s available in your local area.

Use the list on the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero or go directly to your local authority.

3. Buy remanufactured IT equipment

When you’re reviewing the life cycle emissions of electronic hardware, the greatest impact is the sourcing of materials and manufacturing. Buying  remanufactured items avoids most of those embodied emissions compared with buying new. Using trusted suppliers means they'll come with a warranty and perform at a level comparable to buying new.

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4. Donate old furniture and equipment

If you’re moving office, having a refurb, or a clear out, you could donate your old furniture to local organisations to use and sell on. There’s usually little to no cost, so it’s a cheaper alternative to booking a waste collection.

This contributes to a circular economy as items in good condition will avoid being sent to waste.

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5. Shop around for energy suppliers

An energy broker will find and present the best deals from energy suppliers. Deals will be based on factors like business size, energy capacity needed and the number of years you’re looking to commit. Brokers will charge a commission per kWh, so it’s worth reviewing directly with energy suppliers as well.

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6. Use fleet monitoring systems

There’s a variety of products in the market to help here. You could make fuel savings through systems that help with route planning or those that give feedback on driving performance like excessive acceleration or harsh braking. These tend to be low cost and give instant feedback on actions you could take.

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7. Consider freight pooling

Pressures when shipping goods mean you sometimes have to be creative to ensure your customers get your products. Freight pooling or consolidation is one option. When you’re sending goods that don't take up a full container or truckload, you could share transport with other businesses using a similar route. It's usually offered through industry initiatives or logistics organisations.

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8. Review options for cloud computing

Servers on your premises usually require a high amount of energy to run and cool the room they’re in. By moving to a cloud hosting provider you could save money spent on running servers. You could also take the opportunity to conduct a review and consolidate your online usage.

Wholegrain Digital produced a Digital Declutter Toolkit which suggests actions you could take to reduce your digital carbon footprint.

9. Offer EVs on company benefit scheme

Under salary sacrifice schemes, there’s a benefit to both employers and employees when offering electric vehicles. From April 2022, the benefit-in-kind tax on electric vehicles via salary sacrifice is 2% on the gross amount for which tax is due. This increases incrementally based on the emissions rating of the vehicle up to 37%. Employers will pay the lower rate for electric vehicles on National Insurance contributions and employees will pay lower rates on income tax. Other benefits include reduced costs to run if mileage is charged back to the company and avoiding congestion charges in cities.

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10. Challenge business travel

The growth in remote working has shown that many businesses could work with less face-to-face interaction. Analyse your business travel - consider the purpose of journeys and look for ways to reduce costs of travel and accommodation.

If you must travel, choose the mode wisely. Air travel has the highest environmental impact so, if you can replace any domestic or short flights with rail, there’s a huge reduction in impact. For example, taking the train from London to France has 90% less emissions per journey when compared to flying!

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What’s next?