Energy and water are essential for economic development, food and agriculture production, global security and social-wellbeing. The United Nations predicts that by 2030, the world will need at least 30 percent more water, 45 percent more energy and 50 percent more food. This challenge will be exacerbated by a climate change, an increasingly prosperous middle class, urbanization and demographic shifts from rural to urban centers, which will to put even more pressure on our finite natural resources.
The good news is many forward-thinking companies are leading the way in solving energy and water challenges to ensure a more secure and prosperous energy and water future that delivers business, environmental, and social benefits.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center has just released its annual environment publication, "Achieving Energy and Water Security: Scalable Solutions from the Private Sector" (PDF). Comprised of more than 25 success stories from the business community, the report showcases how many of the world's leading companies are tackling pressing energy and water challenges in their operations and throughout their supply chains. They are driving greater resource efficiencies and conservation, innovation, new tools and technologies, and strategic partnerships.
FedEx moves to manage fuel use
As a company that moves 3.6 billion packages a year across 200 countries and territories, FedEx relies on a lot of fuel. Through the company's Fuel Sense Program, comprised of 40 different initiatives to improve efficiency across its operations, FedEx is reducing its fuel use and emissions from its transportation fleet.
Fuel Sense relies on the expertise of its flight crews, engineers and others to identify and deploy efficiency opportunities. For example, reducing power for standard flight climbs saves about 660,000 gallons of jet fuel and 6,300 metric tons of CO2 per month.
FedEx also relies on cross-industry partnerships. A notable one with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) improves airport efficiency by using advanced wake-turbulence research to reduce spacing between aircraft. This effort resulted in savings of 350,000 gallons of jet fuel per month at Memphis International Airport alone.
Since 2005, FedEx Express has reduced its aviation emission intensity by more than 18 percent while increasing revenue by 36 percent. FedEx has also achieved cumulative fuel savings of 247 million gallons since 2007, and a five percent reduction in annual fuel burn.
Caesars Entertainment plays to win with energy savings
Through its Code Green integrated sustainability strategy, Caesars Entertainment is committed to minimizing its environmental impacts, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Commercial buildings consume more than 30 percent of energy used in the United States, and are a major contributor of GHGs. Caesars set a goal of reducing energy use 20 percent on a per square foot basis by 2015 against a 2007 baseline, and an absolute carbon reduction goal of 10 percent from 2007 to 2013.
Caesars exceeded its GHG emissions reduction goal a year ahead of schedule, despite property expansions. The company achieved this goal through technology innovation, including LED lighting and digital thermostats with integrated occupancy sensors, and replacing more than 70,000 halogen bulbs with more efficient alternatives. These and other efforts resulted in more than 143,500 metric tons of avoided emissions annually, and absolute annual electricity savings of more than 145,000,000 kilowatt hours in 2012 relative to 2007 baseline. This is enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 35,000 people each year.
American Water puts a stopper in water waste, looks to the sun
Increasingly, companies understand that energy and water are inextricably linked. Energy generation and development need water, and energy is required to supply, consume, and treat water. By deploying technologies and practices to use water more efficiently, American Water is also conserving energy and reducing its carbon emissions.
Utilizing leak detectors and an advanced metering infrastructure system in Connellsville, Pa., the company reduced non-revenue water by more than half, saving approximately $175,000 in annual water purchase costs in the first year of implementation. Pennsylvania American Water has also committed to supply its Yardley Water Treatment Plant with 100 percent wind-generated electricity, resulting in the purchase of 1,603,200 kWh of green power per year.
Finally, at the company's Canal Road Water Treatment Plant in Somerset, N.J., American Water installed the state's largest ground-mounted solar electric system, reducing energy use by 585,000 kilowatt hours per year and preventing 699,856 pounds of CO2 from being released.
Learn how to improve energy efficiency and the bottom line
As a result of efforts like these, companies are not only solving complex natural resource challenges, they can also improve productivity and realize cost savings, reduce risk, enhance reputation and brand, and become more resilient.
You can learn more about the scalable solutions FedEx, Caesars, American Water and others are employing in our publication, which you can download on March 25 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET on a GreenBiz webcast with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Alcoa, The Dow Chemical Company, and MGM Resorts International. Join us to learn how these leading companies are using innovation and partnerships to accelerate and scale solutions to energy and water challenges that make business and environmental sense.
Top FedEx plane image by Frank Kovalchek via Flickr