By Lowell Ungar
As companies and even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce embrace efforts to address climate change, new ACEEE research finds that companies directly control about three-fourths of U.S. energy use and the associated emissions and do some reporting on efficiency. But most do not set energy-saving targets or have comprehensive efficiency plans.
In a striking but quiet reversal, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce changed its position on climate change earlier this month to support U.S. participation in the Paris Accords. That followed a reversal by the Business Roundtable in August, when the group of 181 of the nation’s leading corporate CEOs changed its statement of a corporation’s purpose to put serving customers, employees, suppliers, and communities—including the environment—on par with serving shareholders.
Despite these reversals, the two major associations still lag behind many of their members on corporate sustainability and climate change. Companies are setting sustainability goals, taking steps to reduce emissions, and reporting progress in corporate sustainability reports and financial disclosures.
Companies Are Key
They have plenty of opportunities. In our issue brief released today, we find that companies directly control about three-fourths of U.S. energy use and the associated carbon dioxide emissions. They own office buildings, manufacturing plants, power plants, and trucks. We know that significant cost-effective energy and carbon savings are available throughout their value chains from lighting retrofits, building energy management systems, smart manufacturing, multi-modal freight systems, and many more efficiency measures (our recent report found half of projected energy use and carbon emissions could be saved by 2050).
Companies can also reduce indirect or “scope 3” emissions by making their products more efficient, giving their employees cleaner commuting options, and helping their suppliers reduce waste in their operations…
To learn more about how companies are using efficiency in their sustainability efforts and how they can do so more effectively, continue reading Ungar’s blog post on the ACEEE website.
Lowell Ungar is a Senior Policy Advisor with ACEEE, where he supports effective federal energy efficiency policies. He promotes administrative actions under existing authorities, develops legislative proposals, and analyzes existing and proposed policies and programs. He joined ACEEE in 2013.
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