The CFO's responsibility
Energy Points and other sustainability management companies, such as Verdiem (which provides IT energy management and efficiency solutions) and Enablon (which delivers sustainability performance-management software), can't do what they do until a company decides it wants to manage sustainability.
And according to Lewis, companies should very much want to. "As time goes on, energy is going to cost more. Early adopters will receive a competitive advantage," he says.
More CFOs may be starting to see things Lewis' way. The Deloitte survey found that CFOs' attitudes toward sustainability are in transition. Forty-nine percent of respondents saw a significant link between sustainability performance and financial performance, and 34 percent said they are responding to that link by transforming organizational processes related to energy and environmental factors.
What's more, because sustainability accountability counts as a risk, the responsibility for managing energy consumption and the company's environmental footprint has shifted to the CFO. In 2011 only 17 percent of the surveyed CFOs claimed responsibility for sustainability. In 2012 that number rose to 26 percent. More than half of respondents said their involvement with sustainability initiatives has increased over the past year, and 61 percent said they expected that involvement to continue to increase.
Sustainability is not just about the planet; it's becoming ever clearer that it's about profits, too.
Gas pump image by muratart via Shutterstock