Burke Ewers, senior vice-president, Lime Energy, Elk Grove Village, IL, led off the session with a call to action around taking steps to reduce energy consumption and cost. These steps keep cash within the manufacturing organization to stop the unnecessary leak of energy and profits. Mr. Ewers reviewed the concept of the “triple bottom line,” where projects that save energy improve the financial health of the organization, ameliorate the facility and the employee workspace, and enhance the overall environment through less waste and pollution. He also stressed the need to set goals and to measure and track progress as concrete steps that a business should take to get started with a successful program to eliminate energy waste.
Bob Shearer, chairman, co-founder and CEO, Shearer’s Foods, Brewster, OH, and past chairman of SFA, next shared his personal experience with energy efficiency in his company. Shearer’s is the nation’s largest kettle chip producer with more than 1 million sq ft of manufacturing space. An Energy Star Partner since 2006, Shearer’s has developed standard metrics to track energy and water use across all facilities. The company treats energy and water as if they are ingredients, and reports consumption on a weekly basis, normalized by pounds produced. In June 2010, Shearer’s achieved its goal of the world’s most efficient food production facility at its Millennium Manufacturing Facility in Massillon, OH, the first LEED Platinum-certified food manufacturing plant.
Mr. Shearer was followed by Michael Muyot, president and founder of CRD Analytics. Mr. Muyot discussed the “sustainability lens” and how performance in environmental, social responsibility and corporate governance (ESG) topics can improve shareholder value. Institutions, pension funds and private equity are increasingly using these ESG screens to direct their investment portfolios to the point where between 11% and 15% of global assets use ESG metrics today. Mr. Muyot repeated the themes from Mr. Shearer and Mr. Ewers about measuring performance, and he stressed that companies need to move early by driving their efforts from the top down and from the bottom up.
A question-and-answer session directed at the panel and moderated by Laureen Miranda of Lime Energy followed the prepared remarks.
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