Sustainability is no longer a noble pursuit, but a necessity. The recognition that the Global 500 largest companies are responsible for more than ten per cent of the world’s greenhouse gases puts business responsibility firmly in the spotlight. And industry has a huge impact on the drive to limit temperature rises to 2C by the end of the century; buildings and industry represent more than sixty per cent of the world’s energy consumption. But, how can businesses retain their competitive edge and drive profits, whilst consuming less of the common planet?
The good news is there is no trade off. Quite the opposite. ‘Going green’ is no longer an overhead that needs to be absorbed — it’s now a way to make profit. This is backed up by figures from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), an organisation that works with institutional investors who represent more than a third of the funds invested across the world. Its 2014 Climate Performance Leadership Index (CPLI), which highlights companies leading the way on climate change performed better than the Bloomberg World Index by 9.6 per cent. To paraphrase one of Wall Street’s most famous sons, ‘Green is good’.
It’s a sentiment that’s being felt in businesses right across the world. Over 90 per cent of CEOs see sustainability as an essential part of business success according to a CDP survey. Investments in emission reduction from companies on the CPLI are yielding an average internal rate of return (IRR) of 57 per cent. Put simply, businesses can no longer afford not to invest in reducing emissions and improving energy efficiency.
Not only will those that drag their feet get left behind financially, they will also find themselves in an increasingly hostile regulatory environment. Businesses adapting now will avoid the worst of legislative amendments on the horizon, as well as enhance their bottom line through greater efficiencies.
The key to unlocking energy efficiencies is smarter use of technology and smarter processes. For many businesses, there is a lack of understanding about how power is used and what technologies are available to manage and save energy. It is about unlocking the invisible to reduce consumption.
For many buildings, heating, ventilation & air conditioning (HVAC) and lighting combined account for over 70 per cent of energy use. It is here that measuring and analysing consumption to spot trends, and combining with electrical control technology to manage buildings, can reduce consumption. And, substantially too, up to 30 per cent of energy savings can be realised in existing buildings. Economic arguments against green initiatives are falling away, and now is the time for businesses to take a smart and sustainable approach to their energy footprint.