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Study: Most Companies Now Measure Green Savings

Three out of five employers (60 percent) are measuring their cost savings from environmental programs, up from 39 percent last year, according to a survey by Buck Consultants, a subsidiary of Xerox.

The Greening of the American Workplace 2010” found that savings are widespread at American companies, with 78 percent of respondents reporting electricity cost savings, two-thirds indicating heating/cooling and paper savings, and 60 percent cutting costs on water.

Overall, 69 percent of respondents have green programs in place, up from 53 percent last year. Nearly six in ten respondents indicated that the economic downturn had no impact on their green workplace initiatives while 19 percent expanded such programs during the recession.

Cost savings were cited as the leading motivator for environmental programs at 78 percent, followed by the creation of community goodwill (58 percent) and employee engagement/morale (56 percent).

Among the organizations that have a formal green program, the most common practices are:

  • Recycling and paper reduction (97 percent)
  • Web and/or teleconferencing (95 percent)
  • Healthy living and wellness (85 percent)
  • Internal green communication programs (81 percent)
  • Light sensors (75 percent)

The survey also found that the proportion of respondents tracking stakeholder feedback on environmental and social responsibility programs has doubled from one year ago, to 62 percent.

Leadership is a critical factor for the success of green workforce initiatives, Buck said – 88 percent of companies with such programs include the CEO in development and communications, while 91 percent have appointed a dedicated leader for their green efforts.

Among employers that provide incentives to encourage green behaviors, 43 percent provide special employee recognition, 19 percent give prizes, and 14 percent provide a monetary reward.

Buck surveyed over 100 organizations, representing a wide range of industries including financial services, manufacturing, health care, and non-profits.

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3 thoughts on “Study: Most Companies Now Measure Green Savings

  1. It is great to see that companies understand the importance of measuring green initiatives. As they increasingly seek to quantify their cost savings from environmental programs, effective measurement and reporting tools are critical to their success.

    For example, workers across the United States are unknowingly wasting their organizations’ money by leaving their PCs on when they’re not being used – especially overnight and during weekends. In fact, my company’s (1E) recent PC Energy Report found that U.S. companies collectively waste $2.8 billion every year powering 108 million unused PCs. Meanwhile, effective power management and tracking tools could save these organizations billions of dollars, while eliminating 20 million tons of carbon emissions a year – that’s equivalent to four million cars off the road.

    Without the right tools in place to provide company management and stakeholders with a high-level view of things like power use and cost savings at-a-glance, green initiatives can go unchecked for significant periods of time. It is equally critical for organizations to gauge where their environmental programs stand before implementing measurement tools, so that progress can be accurately reported once they are in place.

  2. Lew, I was thinking the exact same thing.

    What’s interesting about all this is what you read between the lines. What matters: leadership, cost savings, employee buy-in, marketability, not impacted by the recession, etc. What we’re been seeing in the building industry is a proliferation of sustainability targets without a way to meet them. That’s what we’re doing at the Sustainable Performance Institute (linked above, I believe). Let me know what you think.

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