Over the past 20+ years of working with multi-site clients, we at ENGIE Insight have seen businesses of every size and across every industry face greater pressure from customers, employees, shareholders, and governmental entities to develop sustainable business practices. This involves more than simply changing a few light bulbs or releasing inspiring stories of ‘corporate responsibility.’ It requires changing operations to weave sustainability into the fabric of daily business and supporting it from the top down. It’s not easy for any business, but it becomes even more complex for multi-site businesses. However, many businesses are already responding to this imperative and succeeding by implementing best practices that can be shared and replicated.
First, some background. We wanted to hear directly from businesses to understand what forces are influencing the creation, expansion, and complexity of their sustainable resource management plans. We also wanted to understand where they saw the greatest opportunity for growth and what their biggest challenges include. So, we partnered with Zpryme, a market-research firm, to survey 250 representatives from commercial and industrial businesses to get their perspective.
As we started to mine through the data from our research, we realized there was a clear picture emerging of what defined a leader (those who consider their energy and sustainability efforts as successful) and a laggard (those who consider their efforts to be unsuccessful). We discovered significant differences between how the two approached, maintained and forecasted sustainable resources management initiatives.
3 Sustainability Leader Best Practices
Based on our findings, we have compiled the three best practices that can help all organizations bridge the gap between where they are today and where they should be tomorrow.
1. Learn to set, communicate, and achieve goals
When it comes to energy and sustainability programs, most businesses do a good job of making goal-setting a priority. But achieving success against those goals is where it varies. Our research revealed what leaders did differently to drive success.
2. Capitalize on new financial models to drive investment and implementation of new technologies
Businesses agree that the adoption and deployment of distributed energy resources such as solar, wind and battery storage is one of the top three opportunities in the next three to five years. Yet not as many realize that there are creative ways to secure capital to access this opportunity.
3. Leverage insights from data to set direction, continuously monitor and proactively pivot
Sustainability leaders are finding creative ways to source data, and they’re using it in more ways, too! In fact, leaders are beating laggards by up to 20 percent in terms of using their data to identify opportunities for new projects, gain executive buy-in, secure funding, optimize ongoing initiatives, and manage their facility in real-time.
Our full C&I report, From Data to Action: Bridging the Gap on Three Best Practices for Sustainable Resource Management, reveals more about our research, these three best practices, and how some organizations are putting them to work as leaders in sustainable resource management.