Climate Action

Big business embraces energy efficiency

Increasing concern about climate change, together with rising energy prices and growing support for action on energy and environmental issues, has led to a surge of environmental commitments from corporations.

  • 12 May 2010
  • Simione Talanoa

Increasing concern about climate change, together with rising energy prices and growing support for action on energy and environmental issues, has led to a surge of environmental commitments from corporations. "Improving energy efficiency is paramount if we are to reduce greenhouse gas emission", states UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. If the Millennium Development Goals are to be met in 2015 work on reducing emissions need to be addressed by big companies.

A new report was released by The Pew Center on Global Climate Change at a conference held in Chicago this year, on 6-7 April. The report has been compiled over the last two years and is entitled, "From Shop Floor to Top Floor: Best Business Practices in Energy Efficiency".

The project investigated numerous companies in order to find out about efficiency strategies concerning internal operations, supply chains, products and services, and cost cutting issues. As a result of this research the report will be able to provide the best, cutting-edge strategies for energy efficiency and be a resource for other businesses looking to start cutting their carbon footprint by becoming more efficient.

The report highlights the best practices in corporate energy efficiency and expresses that "companies are pioneering new energy efficiency strategies that result in greater productivity, robust financial savings, and a lower carbon footprint." It has become apparent that billion dollar savings and massive cuts in green house gas emissions can be made by taking into greater consideration how energy efficiency can be improved.

Alongside the environmental and financial benefits corporations found that reducing their energy usage also led to enhanced corporate reputation, improved work morale, better retention of employees, broader innovation and productivity improvements. Recently there has been a definite shift towards energy efficient practices as it proves to be lucrative for business.

The report also highlights the problems that companies come up against in their attempts to implement strategies to become energy efficient. The difficulties include a shortage of financial support; lack of employees with the appropriate knowledge and skills; inadequate management tools; and insufficient technical information.

Companies such as Toyota are embracing energy efficiency. Toyota has described it as a treasure hunt to find low-cost energy gains to make big savings. The company's goal is to reduce the energy used for each vehicle's production by 30 per cent in 2011. Another company, Dow Chemical, has calculated that their company have saved US$8.6 billion and evaded 86 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions since 1994.

Energy efficiency has become a priority for investment as it becomes clearer, especially with the release of this recent report, that it can be cost-effective; beneficial to company procedures; and help reduce a corporation's carbon footprint.

 

Author: Rachael Bristow | Climate Action

Image: Uwe Hermann | Flickr