Energy efficiency has become a key attribute in corporate sustainability strategies.
Unstable and increasing energy prices along with economic drivers for business operations efficiency, as well as a recognized concern regarding climate change and environmental impacts – have all been driving many organizations to act on reducing energy usage and becoming efficient. In fact, leading companies report significant cost savings due to energy efficiency, resulting in reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Last month, the Pew Center published a new report titled “From Shop Floor to Top Floor: Best Business Practices in Energy Efficiency “, which documents leading-edge energy efficiency strategies, in-depth case studies, key findings, and best practices. The report also provides resources, tools and guidance.
The document was developed over two years by several groups and professionals: the Pew Center on Global Climate Change staff, a project advisory committee, members of the Pew Center’s Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC), project consultants and authors.
The report covers several sections:
• Survey findings and trends in corporate energy efficiency
• Efficiency strategies – core practices and values of highly efficient companies (‘The seven habits’)
• Energy efficiency best practices, including internal operations, supply chains, products and services, and cross-functional issues.
On average, companies surveyed reported spending less than five percent of total revenues on energy. However, when footprinting their carbon emissions, these businesses discovered that their energy usage accounted for the most of the carbon emissions impact. Companies that commit to carbon footprinting and reduction strategies begin to view their energy consumption from sustainable perspectives: although energy is a small cost item, it is the biggest item in terms of carbon footprint.
Best practices of energy efficiency strategies are formatted into “Seven
Habits” of core practices and principles, cutting across internal operations, supply chains, and products and services.
The Seven Habits of Highly Efficient Companies
1. Efficiency as a core strategy: efficiency, similarly to quality, is an integral part of the corporate strategic planning and risk assessment (not just a cost center to deal with).
2. Leadership & governance are essential, requiring a dedicated staff to collaborate with all business units, communicate internally, manage, track and be accountable for energy performance. Also, integrate energy efficiency into the company’s culture and core operations.
3. Put measurable and company-wide energy efficiency goals in place, have set metrics and link them to action plans in all business units.
4. Implement a tracking & reporting system that collects data regularly and measures against energy performance goals.
5. The company dedicates staff to energy efficiency, provides adequate operating resources, and recognizes involved employees and internal innovators.
6. The efficiency strategy shows confirmed results against performance goals.
7. Transparency – results are shared continuously internally, and successes are communicated externally.
When developing and implementing energy efficiency strategies, many companies run into obstacles, such as lack of funding, inadequate management tools, incomplete data, and lack of skilled staff, and other. The report examines best practices to overcome these challenges and gives examples of successful approaches.
Case studies included:
• Dow Chemical Company
• United Technologies Corporation
• Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc.
• Best Buy
For details about the case studies, download the complete report and refer to pages 71-256.
To order a FREE copy of the document or any other Pew Center report, you can email [email protected] with your name, mailing address, and requested report title(s).
Additional resource: Pew Center press release
The Pew Center was established in May 1998 as a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
Economic value for becoming sustainable
- The role of corporations in attaining sustainability
- Should reducing greenhouse gas emissions be the focal point?
Crossroad image from green.sympatico.msn.ca
1. From Acterra’s website – Periodically, Acterra receives announcements of job opportunities in local environmental organizations.
2. Treehugger ‘green’ job board
3. Search for jobs in Idealist.org – check for environmental and other opportunities in the nonprofit sector.
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Tags: Energy efficiency in corporations, best practices, sustainability best practices, energy usage reduction, cost savings, efficiency strategy, sustainability drivers, sevean (7) habbits, metrics, transparancy internally and externally, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, co2