Energy group Inenco has launched a new Retail Utilities Forum to help hard-pressed retailers reduce their energy bills and cut their carbon footprints.
The forum was launched at an event at the company’s Lytham headquarters and was attended by major retail groups across a range of sectors.
Key topics were on the agenda, including energy procurement and retailers working in partnership to cut energy costs.
Fashion and homeware retailer Matalan gave an insight into its work, which has led to more than £2m of annual savings.
A presentation by the Spirit Pub Company highlighted its all-encompassing approach to contract negotiation.
And Mervyn Bowden, the former head of energy at Marks & Spencer, shared his experience of the pioneering work carried out by the high street giant under its ‘Plan A’ project, which led to major cost savings and a reduction in its carbon footprint.
Other attendees included Sainsbury’s, Dunelm, Tesco, Dixons and Lloyd’s Bank.
Inenco Group chief executive Michael Abbott said the ‘Energy Reduction Day’ was just the start of the work of its new Retail Utilities Forum.
He added: “We’ve set up the forum with the aim of sharing ideas, best practice, vision and experiences.
“Controlling energy bills and having workable carbon reduction programme are vitally important to all retailers and remain a big challenge.
“By sharing best practice and talking about real issues, major retailers can learn from each other.
“Our expert teams are also part of the process, sharing their knowledge and experience.
“The first meeting centred on some interesting and innovative initiatives that are being carried out by leading organisations. For instance, Matalan’s savings are very real, robust and substantial and benefit the bottom line, which in the retail sector is under constant attack.”
Inenco now plans to organise a webinar to present the ideas and share the knowledge with retail groups that couldn’t make the initial forum meeting.
Mr Abbott said: “This is just the start of the journey for the forum, we’re looking to really build on this initial event and continue to attract keynote speakers and companies.”
The business serves more than 9,000 customers and manages £3.2bn of electricity and gas procurement.