Credit: Black Rock Solar

Whether it is deprivation, environmental shock or some other local challenge, the impact on communities sends a ripple effect through society. Research is conclusive: addressing this issue is good for business, especially local businesses. The key is finding an approach that delivers benefits to both communities and businesses.

Communities are increasingly playing an important role in tackling climate change as they host low carbon and renewable energy projects. Their impact is being heightened by innovative companies who are introducing new approaches which allow the aggregation of capacity across multiple households and businesses. However, there remains a significant affordability gap across communities that does not appear to being resolved.

A post-COVID-19 economy will make it even more difficult for households and businesses to invest in the infrastructure necessary to move towards a carbon net-zero society.  The public purse is unlikely to be the answer. Nor are energy suppliers – even those operating creative partnership schemes with their customers – who are operating at low margins and forever trying to reduce the friction caused by operating within a fragmented energy market. All this stymies the potential for a burgeoning prosumer market and the opportunity to generate sufficient value to warrant investment into new infrastructure.

Is the private sector, in the form of local corporates, part of the solution? A concept is being developed which connects larger local businesses with their local communities through ESG sponsorship programmes. Community low carbon projects receive seed funding (via suppliers) and businesses use these new connections to enhance their brands.

To explore the potential of this approach further, PyTerra and co-sponsor The Future Economy Network have launched a market survey which assesses the appetite in the private sector for such an approach. The survey is for all organisations but is particularly targeted at those based in Bristol.

Your participation in this 5 minute survey is requested. This is your opportunity to comment on the direction of capitalism in the community.

Access the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/YN7YRFL. It will be open until Sunday 20th December 2020.

© David Arscott December 2020