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Businesses such as petrol stations should adapt or die

Never has a phrase been so appropriate to businesses resisting the upcoming green evolution than ‘adapt or die’. While it may seem harsh, we can’t have those stubborn to change standing in our way of progress.

There’s no point in sugarcoating the fact that change is desperately needed to get global carbon emissions down, and unfortunately, there are many industries who continue to this very day to avoid their responsibility towards this global effort. Whether it’s car manufacturers resistant to making an electric vehicle or petrol station operators wanting to keep polluting vehicles around for a little longer.

No amount of Government assistance is going to keep polluting industries alive, they are going to die one way or another. It would be irresponsible for the UK Government to prop up these industries indefinitely at the expense of our planet; it’s time for these businesses to be responsible for their own future and adapt.

We already see many industry-leading firms who have upended their business model to reduce their carbon emissions. Take Shell and BP, both companies called for the UK Government to bring forward its ban on vehicles powered by an internal combustion engine despite the damage it would do to their oil business. They did this because they are adapting to the realities of today, both firms are investing heavily in the electric vehicle market.

Another example we can use is Volkswagen. The company was guilty of deliberately faking emissions tests to make its vehicles seem less polluting than they actually were. Since then, the company has undergone a complete transition, throwing its weight behind the EV market while other major car manufacturers, such as Toyota, scoffed at the idea of battery vehicles.

It’s a sad fact that industries die when they fail to adapt. Streaming video has taken over Hollywood and killed off video rental stores across the globe, but where was the outcry for Government support for Blockbuster? Retailers who have been slow to adopt online shopping have also struggled in recent years, as have restaurants that haven’t adapted to the changing tastes of consumers.

Petrol stations will be a relic of the past someday, but it doesn’t mean that those running those services are out of a job, instead they need to take the lead in recognising that change is coming and adapting to meet the challenges of the future head on. They’re often ideal locations for convenience stores, while there’s also massive demand for more EV charging infrastructure – the opportunities are there, they just need to take them.

The same mantra goes for firms in every industry. Life will always change, even in an industry as old as the one we serve in, but that doesn’t mean we can’t adapt. Embrace change rather than being afraid of it and going the way of the Dodo.

This editorial originally appeared in the Electrical Review Newsletter dated January 21, 2021. To ensure you receive these editorials direct to your inbox, subscribe to the newsletter now. 

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