Most Australians want businesses to use renewable energy but the nation's companies are lagging behind in making the switch.
Just under half of Australia's biggest businesses are using renewables, but for most it is a pretty small part of their energy mix, a new study released on Tuesday finds.
The survey of more than 90 of Australia's biggest public and private companies, undertaken by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Council, finds confusion and misconception around using renewable energy.
The top reason for switching to renewables - even just a small portion - was saving money.
But companies that hadn't made the change believed it would cost them more to use renewables than existing energy sources.
While several companies were leading the way, including Telstra and zinc refiner Sun Metals, in general Australia businesses were falling behind their global peers.
ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht argues there are substantial benefits for big business, with consumers more likely to reward those that made the switch to renewables with greater loyalty and a higher tolerance of price fluctuations.
The report found about three in five local companies believed their customers didn't care whether they used renewables or not.
But four in five Australians surveyed said big business should be using renewable energy.
Almost the same number said they would choose a product or service made with renewable energy over one that wasn't and two in five said they'd be willing to pay a premium for the greener purchase.
Clean Energy Council head Kane Thornton said public support and the falling cost of renewables added up to a win-win for business.
"If companies stand on the sidelines for too long, they risk falling behind their competitors in terms of saving on energy costs, reaching sustainability targets and meeting changing customer expectations," he said.