By Steven Heim, Director or ESG Research, Boston Common Asset Management
Today, we celebrate the 4th annual Energy Efficiency Day (EE Day) #EEDay2019! We join 549 regional and national organizations, businesses, utilities, universities, and individuals in promoting energy efficiency – the cheapest, quickest way to meet our energy needs, cut utility bills, and reduce pollution.
Energy efficiency is vital to addressing the climate emergency the world faces today. A new ACEEE report shows by 2050 energy efficiency alone can “slash US energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, getting us halfway to US climate goals” and “deliver energy savings worth more than $700 billion.” Improving efficiency and reducing waste is a win-win for both the environment and corporations and can help companies be more sustainable and profitable.
In this age of resource scarcity, what can companies do—and what can investors ask them to do? Boston Common’s Eco-Efficiency initiative encourages companies to adopt management best practices to reduce energy and water use and eliminate resource waste, by boosting bottom lines, driving all towards a circular economy, and averting extreme climate change. A big key: removing internal barriers to superior performance and reimagining products and processes.
Our Call to Action for Companies:
- Join the EP100 leadership initiative
- Employ ISO 50001 certified energy management systems. As a first step, trial the US Department of Energy’s 50001 Ready program for US facilities
- Join the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment to end plastic waste at the source
- Remove internal barriers and adopt management best practices for superior Eco-Efficiency performance
We believe the potential financial and environmental returns from Eco-Efficiency are vast. Applying Integrative Design to reduce just energy use alone in buildings, transport, and industry can result in big reductions in costs and energy use. See the Amory Lovins paper: “How big is the energy efficiency resource?”
As active, engaged shareholders, Boston Common works with companies to reduce risks and capitalize on opportunities created by improving their Eco-Efficiency. We share our Eco-Efficiency report to support companies to reach their goals and to provide a governance framework. Last week, as part of Climate Week NYC we were invited to the EP100 event sponsored by the Climate Group, the organizer of Climate Week NYC and secretariat for the EP100 (energy productivity), RE100 (renewables), and EV100 (electric vehicles). The EP100 leadership initiative promotes ambitious corporate energy productivity goals and net zero buildings globally.
For five years, Boston Common has led a global initiative on Eco-Efficiency, and through active sustained dialogue with companies, industries, and investors we aim to challenge and inspire companies to unlock opportunities and improve efficiencies. This fall, Boston Common is launching another phase of our Eco-Efficiency initiative, adding a new focus on plastics and wastes in order to promote the circular economy. With questioning and encouragement from investors and customers, and better public policy, we believe companies will step up to improve efficiency. We go into 2020 optimistic for the vast opportunity for energy efficiency (and Eco-Efficiency) gains globally, and we remain committed to do our part to drive this forward as investors.