Employers green up workspaces

by Lime Energy
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lime energy Nearly 80% of 100 American companies surveyed are experiencing energy savings, and at least 60% report that they are saving water. The participation rate for recycling and paper reduction is a whopping 97%. These are the conclusions of a Jan., 2011 study called “The Greening of the American Workplace 2010,” issued by Buck Consultants.

According to the survey, 69% of American companies have green programs in place, up from 53% the year before. The issue of leadership at the top is important because out of all companies with these programs, 88% report that the CEO was involved in program development and communications.

Investors and the business community matter as well; 62% of companies said they are tracking stakeholder feedback on their environmental and social responsibility programs. This is double the rate of one year ago.

In a separate survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers, 1,000 CEOs from 43 countries indicated that 79% believe that sustainability is vital to the profitability of any company. The reason for increased interest is clear. Sustainable practices are profitable because they can reduce risk, make business more efficient and more attractive to consumers, and bring new technology advances while reducing environmental and social impact.

Today, the two disciplines of energy and sustainability are gradually becoming combined to enable an organization to maintain and grow its reputation on the economic, social and environmental fronts while actively improving its position with consumers.

An area for improvement involves roles and responsibilities. In many companies, several employees may be engaged in aspects of energy and sustainability across a global company. This is often not their main focus, and sustainability and energy monitoring can become an add-on to a much broader role, which dilutes the focus.

With the appointment of an energy and sustainability manager, a coordinated, strategic approach is provided, led by a single individual who draws together all aspects of sustainability, energy management, social and ethical due diligence and creates a green strategy for the whole company. Survey data on this subject reports that 91% of companies with sustainability programs have appointed a dedicated leader for their green efforts.

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