Many businesses in the West Midlands have been lulled into a false sense of security by years of low energy costs and will suffer if they don't take steps to protect themselves from future price rises, a leading environmental business figure has said.
The latest comments from David Middleton, the chief executive of the UK Business Council for Sustainable Development, came as the Energy Savings Trust launched its Energy Efficiency Week yesterday.
"With depleting resources, rising costs, dependency on supply form abroad and increasing environmental concerns, energy is rising on the agenda," Mr Middleton said.
"But at the moment many businesses continue to use and abuse energy.
"We have the collective wisdom and technology to prepare for such rapidly approaching problems, but businesses must be responsible and take action."
Now in its ninth year, Energy Saving Week aims to raise awareness of the individual impact of climate change. It encourages people to accept personal responsibility for energy wastage in the UK and its subsequent impact on the environment.
Although research from the Energy Saving Trust shows that over 76 per cent of people in the Midlands think we guzzle more energy than we actually need, many did not take steps to reduce how much they used. "The time is coming when businesses will be judged as a good investment by how energy efficient they are," Mr Middleton said.
"It really isn't an issue West Midlands businesses can continue to ignore."