Consumers favour businesses that use renewable energy: ARENA survey

Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) renewables funding partners with CleanTek MarketAustralian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)

A new report shows Australian business is under-estimating  consumer expectations for renewable energy use.

Research undertaken by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) reveals a mismatch between consumer desires and businesses’ uptake of clean energy.

More than 90 of Australia’s biggest public and private companies were surveyed in the ground-breaking study conducted by ARENA and the Clean Energy Council.

In the survey, companies say they don’t believe customers expect them to use renewables. However, most Australians say they would reward companies who choose to switch to green power. In the survey:

  • Less than half (46%) of major Australian companies surveyed are actively using clean power.
  • Even then, renewable energy comprises 10% or less of their energy use.
  • Four out of five Australians believe businesses should use clean energy
  • Three quarters of consumers would buy a product or service made with renewable energy over a similar one that wasn’t.

Consumers give renewable energy the green light

As the survey reveals, consumers overwhelmingly want their companies to use green energy.

New ARENA report on renewable energy

Australian business is lagging behind the rest of the world in clean energy, report shows. Image: Pixabay

The poll of more than 1,000 Australians also shows:

  • 80% of Australians believe big business should use renewable energy;
  • 76% would choose a ‘green’ product or service if available; and
  • 40% would be willing to pay more for it.

“The benefit for big business is substantial,” says ARENA Chief Executive Officer Ivor Frischknecht.

“Consumers are more likely to reward companies that take the plunge with greater loyalty and higher tolerance of price fluctuations,” he said.

“If companies stand on the sidelines for too long, they risk falling behind their competitors in terms of saving on energy costs, reaching sustainability targets and meeting changing customer expectations.”

Australian businesses trail global peers

The survey showed a widening gap between companies ‘going green’ and those avoiding it.

And businesses appear to lag behind global competitors in terms of clean energy.

While a few lead the renewable charge, they generally trail US companies in setting ambitious clean energy and sustainability targets, the report states.

Results were launched to coincide with Sydney’s Clean Energy Summit on July 18-19 .