Every day, Sustainability, Operational and Facility Leaders are charged with fulfilling organizations’ clean energy initiatives. They are given a clear “what” – outcome-based metrics like emissions reduction or complete carbon neutrality, but the “how” is rarely so well-defined. This flexibility is vital for generating a customized plan befitting the organization’s assets, goals, and industry. But it can also leave business, sustainability and/or facility leaders staring at a blank page wondering how to begin.
In this blog series, we will address the most important questions sustainability or operational leaders are faced with as they develop the roadmap for their organization’s clean energy initiatives. Below, we detail the story of Simone, an amalgamation of the countless leaders we’ve guided over the years, as she navigates the challenges and solutions facing those responsible for designing and executing energy transformation.
Sustainability Officer Tasked with Energy Commitment
Meet Simone, who was recently promoted to the role of Sustainability and Growth Officer. After graduating with her MBA, Simone began her successful career in the food and beverage industry on the procurement team for a globally significant brand. She rapidly rose through the organization, expanding her skills and experiences.
Now, in her new role, Simone is tasked with optimizing and linking the company’s brand, revenue, and sustainability. Simultaneously, the board of her company just announced that they will be carbon neutral by 2030! Simone has a huge challenge ahead, a small team, and no playbook to follow.
Clean Energy Initiatives: Getting Started
In 2021, companies face numerous competing sustainability demands from consumers, federal regulations, and the planet. Simone’s number one priority is energy. Today, her organization sources energy for its assets from utilities. A recent internal analysis completed by Simone’s team found that even with energy efficiency investments, energy costs have increased 15% in the last 10 years and are estimated to go up more significantly in the years ahead. In parallel, there have been recent reliability issues, costing the company money through the loss of perishable products at several key locations and lost manufacturing time. But most importantly, Simone needs to address these challenges while achieving carbon neutrality over the next decade.
Simone is feeling overwhelmed. She has an extensive list of questions on her mind. Over the coming weeks, we will explore each of these questions and work through how Simone, or someone in her position, can find the answers.
- Should our company consider onsite energy to achieve sustainability targets?
- What key factors should I consider? Who should I turn to for support? What technologies, contracting mechanisms, and financial resources are available?
- Which operational assets should I start with? How can I assess and prioritize my next steps?
- Can I achieve my carbon reduction targets and achieve other operational benefits?
- What key metrics should I be considering to make business critical decisions, and how can I easily communicate my plan to key stakeholders?
- How long would it take to deploy an onsite energy system that will deliver my goals?
- Should I self-finance a system or get energy-as-a-service?
- As a non-expert in the energy industry, how do I select the right equipment suppliers and developers from hundreds of options?
- What is the cost to my role and business of not acting?
- This all seems very complex. Is there any way to simplify the whole process and ensure I get the right solution for my specific needs?
Simone is not alone. CEOs, CFOs, COOs, Sustainability Managers, Operational and Facility Leaders in companies around the world are all being challenged with similar scenarios.
With any transition there are leaders and followers. Those who embrace the energy transition as an opportunity will thrive and look back on this moment as a turning point for their careers, businesses and communities. Follow this blog series to set yourself up for success and be a leader!
Written By Gareth Evans