The war in Ukraine and the surge in gas and electricity prices have changed business habits. According to a study which has just been published, half of SMEs and VSEs have voluntarily reduced their energy consumption.
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Some silver lining. Inflation, war in Ukraine, but also uncertainties linked to conflict in the Middle East, business leaders are even more cautious and economical. According to the latest survey conducted by the Rexecode economic institute for the public investment bank Bpifrance Le Lab, since the start of the price surge, 49% of SMEs and VSEs (very small businesses) have reduced their electricity consumption, gas and oil. The figure is even more impressive in the industrial sector because the proportion of companies that have reduced their energy consumption reaches 60%.
No effects on production
Have these energy savings had an impact on business activity? No, sobriety has not penalized production. Proof that we can do just as well while consuming less. By adopting, for example, lighting in offices and factories, optimizing vehicle fleets, etc.). Even more interesting: it appears from this Bpifrance Le Lab survey that the bosses interviewed want to go further in their efforts. Some 75% of the business leaders surveyed affirm that the sobriety measures they have put in place in light of the energy crisis are designed to be sustainable, to last over time.
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When economic activity slows, businesses automatically consume less electricity or gas. But, even with activity picking up, SME bosses know that the time for cheap energy is over. They therefore need to make savings to prevent this from weighing on their production costs, and to remain competitive with the competition. Finally, the savings will also be used to finance the very costly investments which are necessary to adapt the production tool to the constraints of the energy transition, especially at a time of more expensive credit with high interest rates. We are at the heart of what economists call “the price signal”. A high price of energy which discourages consuming more. The principle of the virtuous “price signal” which is clearly catching on.