In years past, this C-level type pronouncement could easily be swept aside shortly after being divulged. Shareholders and other interested parties rarely demanded accountability or requested metrics to verify the success of a company’s sustainability efforts. Earnings per share are what mattered most.
Those days are gone. A company’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) actions are now the main criteria used to evaluate whether an investment is socially responsible or ethical.
Business leaders realize that doing good must factor into long-term performance strategies. Consider the following:
Large sectors of the investing community invest only in organizations that meet rigid ESG criteria.
The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) is discussing what disclosures will be required by public companies regarding their ESG pursuits.
Activist investors have had considerable success in securing seats on major corporations’ boards of directors. Exxon Mobile recently added three ESG activists to its board due to shareholder pressure.
BP announced a complete and fast transition from fossil fuels to renewables, conceding that the strategy won’t make money for several years.
Want to meet promised ESG goals? Break them down into actionable tasks.
It would be naïve to think the C-suite can ignore any targets they have announced. Putting it bluntly, there is no choice now but to walk the talk. If today passes with little or no action, attaining those goals tomorrow becomes even more difficult.
The Wall Street Journal hosted its virtual “WSJ Pro Sustainability Business Forum” in November 2021. It was well attended by many outstanding organization representatives responsible for ESG design, planning, policy, verification, and implementation. Event speakers shared a consensus that many entities have become almost paralyzed by the daunting task of meeting their own ESG commitments. So, what was their unanimous advice to the attendees?
All of the speakers – many of whom are chief sustainability officers – suggested the best way to reach 20 or 30-year targets is to break tasks down into five-year chunks, prioritizing the swiftest and least costly programs to realize bite-sized successes.
In other words, don’t wait for the Hail Mary pass of nuclear fusion to declare victory in buying 100% clean energy, as that dream is most likely decades away. Instead, implement attainable measures now to make progress on your sustainability journey.
Look for easy-to-implement but impactful sustainability solutions.
Exactly what are the options for that next five-year chunk for the 90% of companies that are falling short already? Indeed, energy vehicles (EVs), rooftop solar panels, battery storage, utility-grade wind and solar facilities all should be considered. But let’s face it, they all require substantial investments.
You could combat your company’s emissions by purchasing carbon offsets; however, most certification agencies won’t count them toward announced goals but rather only consider Tier 1 and Tier 2 reduction strategies.
CEOs and CFOs constantly have to weigh and prioritize initiatives against shareholder expectations. Rising to the top of the ESG initiatives list should be easy wins that can achieve significant impact at a low implementation cost.
One apparent maxim is “the cheapest kilowatt-hour is the one that is avoided.” And that maxim points directly at energy efficiency programs. At the WSJ conference, Wayne Balta, IBM’s Chief Sustainability Officer, said, ”Energy efficiency is viewed like your father’s Oldsmobile.” It may seem unfairly outdated compared to other sustainability solutions, but it’s proven, reliable, and cheap!
Energy demand management is a prime example of an effective ESG solution that’s often overlooked.
Andy Frank, founder and president of home wellness company Sealed, recently wrote an article for Canary Media titled, Don’t Ignore Half of the Clean Energy Equation: Reducing Demand. While Frank believes we should continue to invest in renewable technologies, he also stated, “We cannot overhaul our overwhelmed energy grid and reliably meet our clean-capacity goals without reducing energy demand.”
In the last decade, there have been giant leaps in digitization, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cloud computing. These advancements have enabled data-driven, new companies like Encycle Corporation to help enterprise-level organizations dramatically and autonomously reduce their HVAC-related carbon emissions through Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS) offerings. HVAC is a logical target for emission reductions since it accounts for approximately 40% of a commercial building’s energy consumption.
Encycle’s Swarm Logic® technology checks all the right sustainability boxes.
Assuming your company has already pledged or plans to reduce its carbon emissions, Encycle offers a transformative cloud-based energy management solution that will fit nicely into your organization’s ESG strategy and bottom line. Swarm Logic® was invented to autonomously reduce HVAC-related energy and carbon emissions by dynamically synergizing power-hungry HVAC rooftop units (RTUs).
The AI-enhanced technology enables RTUs to operate most efficiently in response to changing conditions such as outdoor temperature, building occupancy, and RTU performance. Instead of operating in isolation, the RTUs become part of a closed-loop system that coordinates RTU activity, balancing energy consumption more logically. This approach maximizes efficiency while maintaining comfort.
Swarm Logic is an attractive high-priority ESG solution because it:
1) Requires no capital investment.
2) Has demonstrated proven energy savings (Typical customers save 10%-20% on HVAC- related energy and CO2 emissions).
3) Delivers a fast ROI (Usually 2X to 5X on program fees almost immediately).
4) Is fast and easy to install (minutes per site and done remotely).
5) Operates autonomously 24/7/365 to reduce energy consumption (kWh).
6) Supports demand response programs, automatically reducing energy loads (kW).
7) Can be seamlessly integrated with building automation systems, compatible connected thermostats, and IoT-enabled equipment.
Other ways Swarm Logic reduces carbon emissions.
Swarm Logic polls actionable data every five minutes on a 24/7/365 basis, providing real-time energy optimization. The advanced technology is equipped with an autonomous Swarm IQ™ fault detection tool that helps companies become more proactive with their HVAC maintenance activities. Reducing truck rolls and servicing struggling RTUs before they become an even bigger issue lowers costs and emissions.
Encycle is bringing a new set of energy efficiency capabilities that can be easily incorporated into your company’s ESG programs. Our highly scalable solution may be deployed across entire building portfolios, helping you meet emission reduction targets. Contact us at 1-855-857-4031 to discuss your energy management goals.
Author: Robert M. Chiste, Founding CEO of Comverge, Inc. and current Chairman and CEO, Encycle Corporation.