Responsible. Sustainable. Profitable. Successful. Is it possible for a business to be all these things? It’s not just possible, it’s essential. Our society and planet are at a tipping point. We all need to play our role in building a better world for future generations.
In this blog, Rens Van Haute, the co-founder of Bolt Energie, reveals how the small Belgian startup has become a positive — and profitable — platform for change by empowering consumers to make smarter energy choices.
Consumers, investors, employees: they all want to be associated with sustainable business and having a sense of purpose. And if that purpose is missing, then a company’s profits could soon be on the line. According to a Salesforce survey, 61% of consumers have stopped buying from a company due to their values not stacking up.
But saying the right thing is not enough to keep customers and gain a competitive advantage. People want businesses to do the right thing by becoming platforms for change and driving sustainable development goals. In fact, 86% of customers believe the societal role of companies is shifting.
The same trend is playing out in the workplace. According to Gartner research, 74% of employees expect their organisation to become more involved in current cultural debates of the day. And it's an expectation that’s worth meeting. Get it right and the number of highly engaged employees can increase from 40% to 60%.
For Rens Van Haute, this shift in expectations is no surprise. “People are looking to work for a company that has a purpose. They want to do something they believe in,” he said.
“If you want to attract talent, it's becoming more and more important to have that mission at the forefront of your company.”
Protecting the environment and tackling climate change need to be part of that mission. Nearly 80% of consumers say a company’s environmental practices influence their buying decisions. Ask B2B stakeholders the same question, and the figure rises to 86%.
As the world strives to meet net-zero goals by 2050, businesses need to play their part in cutting greenhouse gas levels. More than 80% of consumers and business buyers believe companies need to take responsibility for reducing their carbon emissions.
“We have to act on climate change,” said Van Haute. “The best way to do that is to just do it yourself.” And that’s exactly what he’s done by co-founding Bolt Energie.
The startup is disrupting the Belgian energy market with its 100% local and green approach. Its transparent platform enables consumers to select providers based on their location and the use of different renewable energy sources. From homeowners with solar panels to family farms producing biomass fuels, Bolt Energie helps people make smarter choices.
To expand its platform and customer base, Bolt Energie still needs to make money. “Profitability and sustainable business can go hand in hand. But you must know the price sensitivity of your customers and make sure the trade-off is not too big for them financially,” said Van Haute.
“If you are making a profit, then you can make extra investments to have an even bigger impact on sustainability.”
Providing a great service to both consumers and producers will be key to enabling Bolt Energie to shift from startup to scale-up mode. With Service Cloud and Pardot, Bolt Energie can provide a richer experience. They can also gain 360 visibility of the connections between energy consumers and producers with a single click. “With Salesforce, we can offer a better service, which is very strategic for us as a company," said Van Haute. “It’s an excellent platform for reporting and operations.”
As the focus on sustainability grows, businesses need to rethink their products, supply chains, and operations. Nine out of ten consumers and business buyers believe companies need to improve their environmental practices. Businesses need better visibility of their impacts and the opportunities for improvement.
The Net Zero Cloud helps organisations capture carbon emissions data in a single platform. This makes it easier to formulate a climate action plan. Carbon accounting and analysis can be a huge time commitment and prevent businesses from moving forward.
“The planet needs climate action now, which is why we are committed to ambitious climate leadership solutions that create ripple effects,” said Patrick Flynn, VP of Sustainability at Salesforce. “We’re on a mission to drive urgent action.”
To support that mission, Salesforce has signed up as a partner sponsor for COP26, the UN’s Climate Change Conference taking place in Scotland in November 2021. With the planet facing a climate change crisis, it’s crucial to bring together governments, businesses, and community leaders.
Bolt Energie wants to keep blazing a trail for sustainable development goals and connecting more consumers with green electricity producers.
“The energy sector has a responsibility to share its knowledge. We want to show the competition that becoming more sustainable is the right way to go and to encourage more people along that road.”
Understand the impact of climate change. Learn how Salesforce develops sustainably. Discover what you can do to drive sustainable development goals.
Get started with the training module around Strategies for Positive Environmental Impact on Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform.