Make no mistake about it, corporations want clean power. They want it because their customers are demanding that they take responsibility for their impact on the environment, and they want it because it’s better for their bottom line.
Last year alone, contracts for 13.4 gigawatts of clean power were signed by corporates and government agencies, with the U.S. accounting for 63% of those deals – 8.5 gigawatts total.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance credits the tech industry with “driving the green energy shift.” The tech industry has contracted for more renewable energy — 2,581 megawatts this year alone — than any other sector of the global economy. They’ve signed long term deals for 10.4 gigawatts to date, and many of them have goals to be 100 percent powered by clean energy.
But while the tech industry may be powering the green revolution in many ways, their reasons for being good stewards to the environment aren’t purely altruistic. Compared to other industries, they are massive consumers – their data centers are hungry for large amounts of energy – and their consumption continues to grow exponentially. In order to manage their reputations and attract investors, it’s imperative for the tech industry to invest in clean energy.
So what does that mean for the business sectors that make up the rest of the global economy? Perhaps surprisingly, manufacturing is a runner-up when it comes to going green, having procured 1,658 megawatts of clean power this year.
Let’s take a little peek behind the curtain of two companies – one in manufacturing and one in tech – to get a sense of how their green energy initiatives compare.
According to Newsweek’s Green Ranking, Hasbro (founded in 1923) is currently number 3 for green business practices in the U.S. As a company, they are deeply committed to building a truly sustainable business. As evidence of this, in 2017 Hasbro achieved 100 percent renewable energy usage and carbon neutrality in all of it’s U.S. operations. Now they are taking it one step further and trying to make this true for their global business as well.
To make this a reality, they “purchased 24,681 megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable energy certificates (RECs) to address 98.8 percent of their 2017 global electricity consumption. Additionally, the company purchased carbon offsets in 2017 to address its global carbon footprint. Cumulatively, this reduction in Hasbro’s carbon footprint is similar to growing 736,051 trees per year for 10 years or not using 66,759 barrels of oil,” according to their 2018 Renewable Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Statement.
Big tech: Apple
According to Newsweek, Apple ranks number 8 in the U.S. and number 17 globally. That’s pretty impressive for a tech behemoth that employees more than 304,000 people. So, how do they do it?
Apple’s Energy Efficiency Program narrows in on suppliers’ facilities that have the highest energy use. After a thorough energy analysis, they work with them to eliminate waste and upgrade to energy-saving technology and infrastructure. The results? The reduction of 466,000 annualized metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2018.
But it’s not all sunshine, roses and sustainability wins for big tech. Apple has come under scrutiny for other environmental issues in its supply chain such as waste management and water contamination. For all of their efforts to fight climate change, there’s the looming truth that every year, electronics generate over 40 million tons of waste.
Have sustainable aspirations? Here are 5 takeaways.
- Sourcing enough renewable energy can be difficult. If you find this to be the case, reach out to other businesses in your state with similar initiatives. There’s strength in numbers, as was recently proven when 10 big tech companies banded together in Virginia to oppose a local energy company whose IRP was heavy on plans for natural gas.
- Be shameless about stealing great ideas. Apple’s Clean Energy Program puts the onus on their suppliers to generate and procure more than 4 gigawatts of renewable energy worldwide by 2020. Since they began the program 4 years ago, 30 suppliers have pledged to provide 100 percent renewable energy, which, alongside Apple’s own investments, have already secured 3.9 of the 4 gigawatts that was their goal.
- Take a page out of Cisco’s book and investigate green tech for the office, like smart thermostats that turn the heat or cooling down when employees aren’t in the office. The “small things” can add up to a lot: lighting upgrades and motion sensors, as well as a more advanced HVAC ventilation system, can save your business money right away and go a long way towards making the office more green.
- Be willing to put in the hard work to reap the rewards, but also be willing to delegate. If you find that the time required to do the job right is too great, then consider calling in an experienced advisor. Here are some great tips from Level 10 Energy on what you should consider if you decide to go down this path. Energy advisors help manage the process and provide support in doing due diligence on providers, as well as negotiating the best possible deal for your company.
- Create a content marketing campaign to launch and promote your sustainable initiatives. As soon as your program is planned and executed on and you are seeing results, it’s time to put together a launch strategy. This includes both internal and external marketing efforts – you need your own people on board and excited about your initiatives in addition to your customers. Your strategy should be comprehensive, covering your entire digital presence – website, ads, emails – be thorough!
And remember, if you get to #5 and feel overwhelmed, I can help!
Has your company already successfully gone green? Tell me about it below 🙂