Pew Center and Toyota Team Up to Research Energy Efficiency Best Practices

Pew Center and Toyota Team Up to Research Energy Efficiency Best Practices

The Pew Center on Global Climate Change and Toyota have launched a project to research energy efficiency strategies among top companies to discover, document and disseminate information about corporate best practices that reduce energy use and related greenhouse gas emissions.

The research and communications project, announced July 16, also will address the market and internal challenges companies encounter while attempting to implement energy efficiency strategies, Toyota and the Pew Center said.

The Pew Center is managing the research and communications for the project, which is being funded with a three-year, $1.4 million grant from Toyota.

"Energy efficiency is the simplest, most cost-effective way for companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions," said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, in a statement. "This project is designed to give companies the tools to ramp up efficiency efforts and simultaneously address growing concerns about climate change and skyrocketing energy prices."

Patricia Salas Pineda, group vice president of Toyota North America, praised the center's long experience in "engaging the business community in the development of pragmatic solutions to climate change."

"We are pleased to work with them to develop this initiative and educate corporations on the most effective ways to reduce energy use," Pineda said in a statement announcing the project.

In conducting its research, the center said it will turn first to the 42 corporations in its Business Environmental Leadership Council. The group is the largest U.S.-based association of companies dedicated to business and policy solutions to climate change, the center said. Its members are chiefly Fortune 500 firms whose combined revenues total more than $2 trillion and employees number almost 4 million.  

According to Andre de Fontaine, the Pew Center's project manager for the effort, a workshop on the research project was conducted for the council last week.

"The feedback was very positive," said de Fontaine, a markets and business strategy fellow at the Pew Center. The center will likely reach out to other leading companies as well in its research, he said.

Information-gathering for the Pew Center-Toyota research project is expected to run about 18 months. The completed report is expected to detail best practices in energy efficiency for a number of key aspects including company operations, supply chains, products and services, the center said.  

The report's release will be the centerpiece of a major conference and is to be followed by regional workshops and briefings on the findings, which are to be showcased in an online component being developed for the project, the center said.

"We're very excited about it," Pew Center spokesman Tom Steinfeldt said of the project.

The Pew Center on Global Climate Change, established in May 1998, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan and independent organization.

Toyota, which established operations in the United States in 1957, operates 10 manufacturing plants and is constructing a new facility in Mississippi. The company supports numerous organizations in the U.S. that focus on education, the environment and safety. Last year, the firm's contribution to philanthropic programs in the U.S. totaled more than $56 million.