Business leaders in the United States responding to the 10th annual Deloitte Resources Study indicated that they expect to remain committed to climate and renewable energy efforts — despite the pandemic and economic crisis.
Deloitte’s 2020 study, “Energy Management: Paused by Pandemic, but Poised to Prevail,” found that covid-19 might actually be partially responsible for driving more efforts to manage energy use, reduce carbon emissions, and address climate change.
Conducted earlier this year, the study’s business perspective is based on more than 600 online interviews with business decision-makers responsible for energy management practices at companies with more than 250 employees across all industries, according to Deloitte.
Business respondents represented small, mid-cap, and large companies from the following sectors: consumer products, industrial products, financial services, health care as well as tech, media, and telecommunications.
One key trend that the study identified was rising stakeholder pressure on businesses to address climate change. Nearly 6 in 10 businesses surveyed expressed that they feel increased pressure to disclose climate risks and, of those, 9 out of 10 reviewed or changed their disclosure procedures and developed plans to address those risks, Deloitte said.
Over the past 10 years, Deloitte has observed the “cost” and “clean” motivations for using renewable energy resources steadily converge. Now, greater affordability allows businesses to prioritize renewable energy without having to make bottom-line sacrifices, the firm said.
The study showed that businesses are procuring more renewables through more channels:
- Sixty-three percent of businesses surveyed have increased emission reduction goals.
- Three-quarters of business respondents said customers are asking them to procure renewable energy.
- More than half of businesses (51%) said they’re working to procure more electricity from renewables.
- Of the 60% of businesses citing having onsite generation, the highest share of electricity supply was generated with cogeneration (15%) and renewables (13%).
- —Microgrids also appear to be growing in popularity with 44% of business respondents saying they’ve considered a microgrid, a spike of 9 points over 2019.
Marlene Motyka, principal, US and global renewable energy leader, Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP, has noticed a trend toward greater climate consciousness. “If there were any sort of ‘silver lining’ to the disruption created by covid-19, it may be that it seems to have acted as a clean energy accelerator, which the current recession will likely not deter,” she said.
Hurdles still remain, however. The study pointed to challenges such as concerns about power reliability and data protection as more businesses adopt technologies to manage and control electricity use and sources.