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Dow Chemical Ties Energy-Efficiency to Cash Savings

 Valerie Davis, CEO & Principal of EnviroMedia Social Marketing, is reporting for Environmental Leader from Poznan, Poland. 

As a representative of major world business, Russel Mills of Dow Chemical told U.N. Climate Change Conference attendees in Poznan, “If you want to follow your wallet, remember energy-efficiency.”

“Solar may be more sexy but energy-efficiency is forever,” said Mills, who pointed out that energy accounts for half the $55 billion corporation’s costs.

Mills said Dow Chemical has saved four times more than expected through energy-efficiency measures — about $7 billion— and avoided the emission of 70 million tons of carbon dioxide along the way.

Professor Nebojsa Nakicenovic of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria described energy-efficiency as a huge opportunity and said that half of the emissions reductions needed for the U.N.’s 80-percent-by-2050 goal could be achieved through energy-efficiency.

“Human behavior has to change but the question is how to induce it,” said Dr. Nakicenovic. First, he added, the business sector has to change.

Atsushi Taketani of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry agreed, saying that in order for energy-efficiency to get real traction, it has to be integrated into industrial policy and financial reform. From the industry perspective, Mills said energy-efficiency must be CEO-driven and have clear timelines with set targets. He also said that communication is essential. He pointed out that “the less cash a business has, the more important it is to start” taking energy-efficiency measures.

“Money has always been important in this area,” said Mills. “Now is a fantastic time to be doing energy-efficiency projects. The smart thing is to start now because eventually everyone is going to discover this.”

Taking into account today’s economic times, U.N. Energy Vice Chair Olav Kjorven said we may need to consider the words of Mother Teresa. Rather than cursing the darkness let’s praise the light.

Valerie Davis, CEO & Principal of EnviroMedia Social Marketing, is reporting for Environmental Leader from Poznan, Poland. 

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