How Will Small Businesses Survive Peak Oil?

Image credit: Food Info

From Yahoo to Virgin, big business is waking up to the threat of peak oil. So much so, that Virgin bross Richard Branson believes we should be mobilizing for peak oil as if for war. But what about the little guy? It's often assumed that because peak oil will make global shipping a challenge, that we'll just transition back to smaller, more local economies. I suspect the truth will be a little more complicated than that. As much as we TreeHuggers like to espouse the virtues of local business and human scale economies, there can be few businesses out there—big or small—that find themselves immune to the threat of rising energy prices or economic volatility. And as recent events have shown, while corporations may find themselves on shaky ground, there is often a helping hand out there to stop the giants from failing. Will that be the same for the small operators? A small social enterprise in the UK is aiming to ensure that we head the problem off before it becomes a crisis.

Started as part of the Transition Towns movement that is offering a community-led approach to planning for climate change and peak oil, Transition Training and Consulting is working with businesses and non-profits to offer comprehensive "Energy Resilience Assessments", and then develop strategies for broadening revenue streams and eliminating over reliance on fossil fuels or vulnerable economic models. Early clients have included a National Trust stately home, and a kayak and canoe business—and the team are currently looking for willing UK businesses to trial some of their other offerings.

The future may be uncertain. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't plan for it.

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