Covid-19 has had a significant impact on corporate energy and efficiency programs, according to new research from Schneider Electric. With the new challenges that have emerged in 2020 due to the pandemic, just 59% of energy and sustainability professionals are continuing on their sustainability paths or accelerating their progress post-pandemic. Diminished capital resources have resulted in setbacks for energy efficiency installations, for example, Schneider Electric says.
More than 45% of respondents view funding as a constraint to pursuing energy and efficiency programs. While CapEx-led funding is down dramatically post-pandemic to 12%, OpEx funding has not simultaneously increased in usage.
Still, Schneider Electric says, confidence and preparedness are increasing as energy and efficiency programs emerge as viable vehicles for business resilience.
The information was released as an addendum to the company’s 2020 Corporate Energy & Sustainability Progress Report; it was based on a follow-up survey completed by the Schneider Electric Energy and Sustainability Services of global professionals responsible for energy and sustainability at businesses with more than $250 million in annual revenue. The original report was published in April, 2020.
Organizations, overall, are adapting smoothly to changing conditions. “The pandemic brought out the best in business professionals in terms of adaptability, innovation, and doing more with less,” says Bill Brewer, VP of energy and sustainability services at Schneider Electric. He adds that he is “incredibly encouraged” that, when faced with massive headwinds, corporate sustainability progress became a stronger lever for corporate longevity.
While fewer than 60% of organizations are continuing or accelerating their existing corporate sustainability paths, positive sentiment towards the usefulness of sustainability programs and risk management has increased: 89% of respondents now view energy and sustainability as a viable way to aid business resilience in their operations.
More than 90% feel more prepared to handle business disruption in the future. In fact, disruptions from the pandemic have led to new opportunities, some said. Sustainability and energy professionals said:
- They have learned to become more efficient;
- They have lowered carbon emissions due to the move to remote work and other gains in operational efficiency;
- They discovered new opportunities for increased energy savings while buildings were shut down.