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|From Shop Floor to Top Floor: Best Business Practices in Energy Efficiency - Introduction|
|Written by William R. Prindle|
|Wednesday, 30 June 2010 12:18|
Page 3 of 3
This report documents these leading-edge energy efficiency strategies, describing best practices and providing guidance and resources for other businesses seeking to reduce energy use in their internal operations, supply chains, and products and services. It was developed over almost two years of effort from Pew Center staff, the project advisory committee, BELC members, project consultants, and report authors. The project encompassed a detailed survey of BELC members and other leading companies, in-depth case studies of six companies, a series of workshops on key energy efficiency topics, broader research in the corporate energy field, and development of a full-featured web portal to provide a platform for highlighting and updating key findings from the project as well as providing tools, resources, and other important information.
B. Purpose of the Report
Companies have pursued efficiency successfully and have results to show for it. The energy crises of the 1970s jolted many companies into efficiency action, and while some of those actions were delayed or sidetracked during the intervening decades of inexpensive energy, the experience companies gained during this period has helped them respond to the latest set of energy shocks.
The report is designed to achieve two overarching purposes: 1) Articulate the business case for energy efficiency strategies. In many cases, companies’ climate change strategies help drive their energy efficiency efforts, but this study has shown that there is a robust business basis for more aggressive efficiency strategies; and 2) Educate corporations and other organizations on the most effective energy efficiency strategies and overall management approaches in their operations, supply chains, and products and services. These approaches include tactics for reducing the barriers to wider adoption of energy efficiency.
To bring focus to this complex topic, the report breaks efficiency strategies into four categories of best practices: organization-wide, internal operations, supply chains, and products and services. This categorization, while helpful for organizing the report, should not be used to fragment the overarching principles and success factors. Companies with successful energy efficiency strategies maintain company-wide programs engaging people at many levels and across many functions and operating units. Internal operations, supply chains, and company products are interwoven with the company’s customers and suppliers; for example, one company’s supply chain is another company’s products. Some companies use what they learn through internal operations to develop innovative products and services. Others have transferred knowledge gained from administering their own efficiency programs to their suppliers. The companies that fully “get” the scope of winning efficiency strategies drive them as far as they can, cutting across the report’s categories. One of the clearest hallmarks of success in today’s best energy efficiency strategies is that they break down walls between functional units, business units, and other organizational domains. This kind of strategy goes far beyond cost management, supporting productivity and innovation and creating new streams of customer and shareholder value.
C. Overview and Organization of the Report
1. The Pew Center’s BELC is the largest U.S.-based association of companies dedicated to business and policy solutions to climate change. The 46 companies in the BELC represent $2 trillion in revenues and nearly 4 million employees. For more information, see: http://www.pewclimate.org/companies_leading_the_way_belc.
2. The most commonly cited definition of sustainability comes from the 1987 Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, which defined the term as “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (Brundtland, G. (1987). Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future. Oxford, Oxford University Press. Available at: http:// www.un-documents.net/wced-ocf.htm, viewed Jan. 30, 2010). Within a business context, sustainability is often used as a blanket term covering a range of corporate efforts to reduce environmental impacts stemming from operations and activities.
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