Eco-Efficiency Strategies ‘Cut Costs, Mitigate Risk’

PwC eco-efficiency survey

by | Jul 11, 2013

PwC eco-efficiency surveyMore than half (52 percent) of businesses rank eco-efficiency as a high or growing priority, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ latest survey, released today.

The poll of more than 600 business professionals shows that firms are putting greater emphasis on efforts to drive financial savings and build a competitive advantage in the market by being more ecologically efficient and reducing their environmental impact, PwC says.

The survey results coincide with a PwC report, also released today. Less can be more: better for the bottom line and the environment offers ideas for companies considering eco-efficiency strategies. Opportunities to implement eco-efficiency initiatives vary, but common areas that are ripe for returns include lighting, on-site solar, fleets, water, and raw materials, according to PwC.

To secure funding for eco-efficiency programs, companies should look at additional cash benefits including utility rebates, maintenance savings and government incentive programs, PwC says. Some utility providers may cover or subsidize capital costs for new equipment that is energy efficient. Likewise, the federal government and many state or local governments provide tax credits, cash grants or loans to spur the adoption of renewable energy.

According to PwC’s survey, eco-efficiency initiatives meet multiple business objectives and more than half (54 percent) of respondents say cost cutting is the main objective for their companies, followed by 30 percent who are focused on enhancing corporate reputation, and 12 percent on managing risks (see graphic).

More than a third of respondents (38 percent) said funding is one of the biggest barriers to making eco-efficiency a reality in their own organizations. Beyond funding, management support (21 percent) and internal capability (21 percent) emerged as additional obstacles.

When it comes to areas where executives see room for improvement in their eco-efficiency strategies, energy usage (52 percent) and waste (27 percent) are the top categories where respondents think their own companies could be doing more.

A Verdantix report published in May named PwC as one of the top three sustainability strategy consulting firms. Deloitte and McKinsey were the other two. Additionally, PwC, AT Kearney, CH2M Hill and PE International have the most compelling capabilities for responsible supply chain and product life-cycle assessment advisory, the report said.

Last month, a PwC survey of the current reporting by large companies involved in the International Integrated Reporting Council pilot program found companies have a long way to go before the reality of integrated reporting catches up with the ambition.

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