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
“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.
“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.
As a corporate content specialist and a ghostwriter for C-level executives, Kathryn's work appears at Forbes, Industry Week and other leading trade publications and websites. She focuses on topics related to science, business sustainability, supply chain risk management and marketing. Find out more about Kathryn at www.CorporateWriter4Hire.com . You can follow Kathryn on Twitter: @CorpWriter4Hire.