WASHINGTON, DC — Over the last 40 years, companies have increasingly undertaken energy efficiency goals in the face of rising energy costs and concern about global climate change.
But while some firms have led the charge all along, others are only making incremental improvements, and still others have yet to begin improving their energy efficiency.
A new report from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change aims to lay out what makes some companies highly efficient, and to help laggards get up to speed.
"In our view, a paradigm shift is occurring in the way corporations view and manage energy," Eileen Clausen, the president of the Pew Center, said in a press conference today. "Price volatility and climate concerns are forcing companies to think more strategically than ever about energy use."
To understand, map and share the techniques that make some companies highly efficient, the Pew Center undertook an ambitious effort to identify those leading firms and find out what makes them tick.
Through presentations to companies and a survey sent out to nearly 100 companies, the Pew researchers uncovered the why and how of corporate energy efficiency practices.
The chart below shows what motivates companies to improve their energy efficiency: It shows that carbon management is the leading motivator, followed by energy costs, while concern about regulations is the least likely motivator for a company looking at energy efficiency projects.
What it comes down to, Clausen said today, is that there are "Seven Habits of Highly Efficient Companies." As laid out in the report, the habits are:
1. Efficiency is a Core Strategy
2. Leadership and Organizational Support is Real and Sustained
3. The Company Has SMART Energy Efficiency Goals
4. The Strategy Relies on a Robust Tracking & Measurement System
5. The Organization Puts Substantial Resources into Efficiency
6. The Energy Efficiency Strategy Shows Demonstrated Results
7. The Company Effectively Communicates Efficiency Results
In order to showcase how these habits can impact companies, the Pew Center report looks at case studies from six leading companies across industries: Dow Chemical, United Technologies, IBM, Toyota, PepsiCo, and Best Buy. Those case studies are presented in-depth in the report.
Among the tools that came out of the research for the report is a 12-step plan for companies that are looking to get started on energy efficiency programs:
1. Start at the top
2. Build the organization
3. Obtain and provide the resources
4. Dig into the data
5. Design a data collection and reporting system
6. Set goals that are a reasonable “stretch”
7. Announce and launch the program
8. Monitor performance
9. Adjust and adapt
10. Communicate success
11. Review and reset goals
12. Provide for accountability
The full report is available for download from GreenBiz.com. For more information about the report, visit the Pew Center on Global Climate Change website. The organization will review the findings of the report in-depth at its upcoming Energy Efficiency Conference, held April 6-7 in Chicago.