Industrial Energy Management and Sustainability: Why Do It?

04.15.13

The term “sustainability” can mean different things to different people, depending on the context. A look into the Oxford Dictionary tells me that the word means “able to be maintained at a certain rate or level, conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources, able to be upheld….”

Today, I want to focus on two aspects: 1) the sustainability of our planet, and 2) the sustainability of my customers’ businesses. At first blush, it may appear that the two are not closely related, and may actually be at cross-purposes. However, I would suggest that the both are closely related and can be very compatible.

Industrial Energy Management Makes You More Profitable

If you run an energy-intensive business, then managing your energy consumption and costs is vitally important to the long-term viability of your company. But, guess what?  Using less energy is also good for the planet. Most energy comes from burning fossil fuels, resulting in carbon emissions and depletion of supplies for future generations. Using less energy—plus less water, raw materials, etc. for that matter—is not only good for the planet, but it also reduces your energy-related costs and makes your company more profitable. This frees up cash your company can use to invest in growth and differentiation.

Long-term Energy Prices Make Industrial Energy Mangement Attractive

While there may be short term ups and downs in the price of energy, there is no question that the long-term trend is for steadily increasing prices. If you are in an energy-intensive industry, rising energy costs represent a significant business risk. If your competitors are better than you at managing energy consumption and costs, it is clear whose business will be sustainable over the long term.

Stakeholders Prefer Businesses that Commit to Sustinability

There’s more. Many consumers have a preference for products from suppliers who can demonstrate a commitment to sustainability. Many leading consumer-based companies recognize this and flow-down sustainable business practice requirements to their suppliers. Want to sell products or services to McDonald’s or Walmart?  You’d better be able to demonstrate the sustainability practices of your company. Is your company public? If so, you can expect investor pressure to demonstrate sustainability. Got kids? Grandkids?  What legacy do you want to leave for them?  Got employees?  Which companies do you think many people prefer to work for—companies that demonstrate sustainable practices or companies that don’t?

There’s much to be gained from adopting sustainable business practices. It’s good for the planet, and it’s also very good for your company’s bottom-line and long-term viability.

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Posted in: Corporate, Energy Management

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