Why can’t big companies do a better job of managing the way they use energy and natural resources?
In many ways, the unwieldy structure of the typical, modern corporation is to blame. Think about it: Offices are spread far and wide, across different buildings, states and even continents –each with its own energy use and resource requirements. Siloed departments rarely “talk” to one another about business goals, let alone green initiatives. Diverse stakeholders have competing objectives. And complex, global supply chains complicate matters even more.
Unfortunately, given all these moving parts, even the best-intentioned companies can be overwhelmed with the prospect of implementing effective enterprise-wide sustainability management.
But, inaction is proving increasingly problematic. Energy costs are on the rise. Compliance and reporting requirements are a growing headache. And factors such as resource scarcity and operational inefficiencies threaten a variety of supply chain functions. Corporations are beginning to recognize that an integrated sustainability strategy can yield significant business benefits, and as a result, new products and services are emerging to help companies better manage their sustainability efforts.
For example, last month Hewlett Packard (HP) launched what its calling the HP Energy and Sustainability Management (ESM) solution, which offers clients a strategy, roadmap and implementation plan that HP says will transform
- the way energy and natural resources are used across the enterprise,
- the processes by which they are managed, and
- the business models needed to meet the demands of their organization.
In short, ESM is a portfolio of enterprise offerings that will help companies fine-tune and integrate their energy and carbon reduction strategies.
“ESM is not just software. It’s not just services. It’s a combination of the two,” Jay Allardyce, Director, Growth Initiatives, Energy and Sustainability Management, Enterprise Business, HP, explained in a phone interview. “For years we have focused on delivering an enterprise sustainability strategy spanning IT, buildings, supply chain and the work force. However, through innovation of our processes and business model, we were able to build on previously announced services and our partnering program in January to introduce ESM.”
More specifically, ESM consists of these nine separate components, each of which addresses a specific energy/sustainability concern.
- HP Energy and Sustainability Discovery Workshop – HP says this service encourages cross-functional collaboration via a highly interactive executive workshop. The cross-functional setting allows groups to achieve a common understanding through the articulation of goals and strategic objectives.
- HP Energy and Sustainability Roadmap Service Companies can use this service to design action plans that reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, for both the short- and long-term.
- HP Energy and Sustainability Baselining Service
HP analyzes an organization’s energy and carbon data using commonly accepted accounting and reporting principles to ensure that the data accurately accounts for energy use and emissions.
- HP Energy and Carbon Reporting Service
This comprehensive inventory and audit includes energy usage, travel, materials, parts, water and waste management and can help a company reduce its carbon and greenhouse gas footprint.
- HP Buildings Energy Efficiency Analysis Service Companies can increase efficiency and reduce carbon emissions by lowering mechanical, electrical and operational inefficiencies that affect facilities.
- HP Buildings Water Usage Analysis
HP helps organizations improve water efficiency by determining water consumption patterns and monitoring associated greenhouse gas emissions.
- HP Critical Facility Sustainability Tradeoff Analysis A comprehensive analysis of data center design “upgrade” approaches can improve energy efficiency and help optimize business goals.
- HP Critical Facilities Energy Certification Service – Achieves government certifications for the USGBC LEED Standard for Data Centers, US EPA Energy Star for Data Centers and US DOE Save Energy Now programs by auditing data center efficiency and gathering required information for certification submission.
- HP Resource Usage Monitoring Service – HP offers real-time monitoring of energy and water usage at the sub-meter level.
HP says it has also developed an ESM partner network in which HP, along with organizations that complement HP’s services, will evaluate a client’s environmental impact and develop best practices for improving resource utilization.
“Right now, most companies have a fragmented approach to sustainability, but ESM offers them an integrated approach,” Allardyce said. “It’s a way to help them empower the enterprise.”
For many firms, that will mean a better alignment of sustainability and business goals.
“The business problem is an enterprise business problem, and there’s a real need to use a portfolio view,” Ken Hamilton, Director, Global Energy and Sustainability Services, HP Technology Consulting, explained. “With ESM, companies adopt a proactive role that better links sustainability within the business framework.”
As Hamilton sees it, today’s forward-thinking organizations now recognize that sustainability is more than just a “nice-to-have.” And, it’s more than just about compliance. These companies realize that sustainability is also about the transparency that leads to efficiency, cost savings and real business value.
“Ultimately, companies who use ESM will be able to improve efficiency of operations and spending on energy and sustainability efforts in order to meet regulatory and voluntary carbon reduction targets, while establishing an enterprise-wide energy and sustainability strategy,” he concluded.
Image courtesy of HP. Caption: A Citigroup data center.