ERM survey highlights new climate for energy efficiency

17 September 2008

Rising fuel costs coupled with business climate change programs are translating into a major new drive for energy efficiency at some of the world’s leading companies according to a survey by the consultancy ERM.

ERM’s survey, The Search for Energy Alternatives shows that firms seeking to counter the impact of rising fuel costs and combat climate change are committing themselves to an innovative new approach to energy. The survey concludes that energy has become an investment priority and a defining business issue for a growing number of companies.

The survey looked at energy investment and energy efficiency combined with greenhouse gas reduction targets in five business sectors: mining, oil and gas, retail, utilities and manufacturing. A total of 22 companies from the FT Global 500 were shortlisted based on the quality of energy and climate change information available on their web sites. Among the shortlisted companies:

  • 50% combine greenhouse gas reduction targets with commitments to significant energy efficiency investment;
  • Over 85% publish greenhouse gas reduction targets;
  • Just over 30% publish both energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction targets.

The survey reveals some distinctive trends among the sectors being looked at. While 100% of the mining companies surveyed publish energy efficiency targets, similar information is only available from one manufacturing company. Published information on renewables investment is prevalent among oil and gas companies but patchier in the utilities sector. Evidence of investment in both climate change and energy projects is now widely available among the companies surveyed.

The survey includes a number of examples showing significant investment in renewable and recycled energy. These include BP’s US$100 million solar power investment in India, Anglo Coal’s biodiesel trial in Australia and Tesco’s work on trigeneration combined heat and power for its stores and distribution centres.

The survey report notes that with the demand for all types of energy likely to rise by at least 50% by 2030 “there has never been a better time to be a green and energy efficient company.”



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