Making the Case for Connecting Efficiency and Sustainability Teams

Jul 9, 2018 8:35 AM ET
Article

Energy and sustainability are inherently linked. Energy efficiency pays dividends by trimming consumption and costs. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), implementing energy efficiency initiatives is the best way to act on climate change as it can reduce CO2 emissions by 38 percent. Companies that operate efficiency and sustainability initiatives in tandem improve productivity, maximize impact and see a greater return on investment. However, silos often exist in companies between global and local teams as well as across different departments, preventing them from reaching their sustainability vision. For example, nearly half of the 236 professionals who weighed in on The State of Corporate Energy & Sustainability Programs in 2018 said that lack of coordinated project and strategic planning is a major challenge.

Many companies face internal barriers such as siloed departments or expertise that prevent them from reaching their energy and sustainability potential. To clear these hurdles, organizations are starting to integrate how they buy and use energy with sustainability initiatives, an approach that maximizes investments, delivers greater returns and builds more robust, viable operations. Schneider Electric for example, has developed the concept of Active Energy Management - a process of integrating energy supply, energy demand, and sustainability data, programs, and strategies for greater efficiency and maximum results. Simply put, this means that the procurement officer, operations manager, and sustainability director in an organization need to work together — to form a cohesive strategy, share data, and deploy joint initiatives.

Organizations that develop a sound strategy and plan can get a head start in ensuring their sustainability and energy efficiency goals are achieved in tandem. Here is a short six step overview on how corporations can achieve this:

  1. Build a joint governance plan
     
  2. Define common and meaningful targets and KPIs and track performance jointly
     
  3. Incentivize cross-functional staff to work as a team
     
  4. Implement a single source of data
     
  5. Establish a joint budget for efficiency and sustainability initiatives
     
  6. Increase transparency: internally and externally

Read more about each of the six steps in this How-to-Guide.