Improving energy efficiency at America’s businesses is as important to brand building as it is to growing the bottom line, according to a new Deloitte report.
The study, reSources 2012, shows that while 85 percent of companies claim that electricity cost reductions are essential to staying financially competitive, almost as high a proportion – 81 percent – believe they are critical to brand building. In fact, more than three-quarters of the organizations surveyed say they are actively promoting their energy efficiency efforts to their customers.
Deloitte says that there is now a clear consensus in corporate America that energy efficiency is an important competitive advantage and that senior business leaders are beginning to see it as as a strategic business driver.
Survey respondents say they have achieved close to 60 percent of their targeted energy reduction levels. However, much of this progress is the result of initiatives that are easy to implement, such as installing more efficient light bulbs. As companies move away from the “low hanging fruit” and on to more sophisticated stages of energy efficiency – requiring larger investments – capital funding is the number one barrier to future progress, followed by length of payback period, the report says.
Furthermore, with energy prices relatively low, many potential energy management projects simply will not reach required payback periods and returns. Deloitte analysts called it ironic that sustained low natural gas prices may be making it more challenging to reach cost-reduction targets.
According to the study, some 35 percent of companies surveyed currently generate some of their own electricity supply through renewable sources or cogeneration, and 17 percent report they have plans for future on-site generation. This is up from 21 percent and six percent in 2011, respectively.
Meanwhile participation in green energy programs offered by electric companies has risen to 37 percent from 30 percent, as awareness and availability of programs have expanded, the report says.
As part of the ongoing research, businesses can go here and measure their own energy efficiency efforts against those of companies surveyed for the reSources 2012 report. Through an online interface, companies can answer several of the study’s questions and then receive a short report comparing their responses against those who participated in the research.