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Schneider Electric has released the results of a study conducted to understand how corporates are addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by the changing energy landscape whilst prioritising sustainability and the energy transition.

The study comprised 265 global energy and sustainability professionals representing companies with minimum annual revenues of $250 million within 17 industries.

The aim was to understand how large organisations purchase energy, manage resource demand, use data, and develop, finance, and execute enterprise efficiency and decarbonisation programmes.

Three key findings from the study include:

  • Energy management is increasingly becoming important as a strategic lever in highly volatile, disruptive environments.
  • New innovations in technology simplify data management for complex energy management projects.
  • Tackling climate change becomes a critical part of energy investments as organisations pursue long-term sustainability.

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Energy managers step up

87% of surveyed executives agree that energy procurement is increasing in its scope and complexity. 56% of these executives have ensured their organisations appoint dedicated energy management staff.

46.5% of executives agree that timing and pricing volatility are the biggest challenge in energy procurement compared to only 29% in 2019.

60% of respondents are considering onsite or offsite renewables as a purchasing strategy in the next three years to manage volatility, with 30% of respondents already deploying renewables. 

More than 46% of respondents are prepared to respond to future innovations in energy management.

Executive buy-in is the most important driver for getting new energy and sustainability programmes approved and funded according to 84% of respondents.

Bill Brewer, vice president of global energy and sustainability services at Schneider Electric, said: “Energy and resource management has moved past the payment of utility bills and become a strategic way for organisations to mitigate financial and reputational risks.

“The landscape is evolving rapidly and if businesses want to remain competitive, they will need to implement strategies that demonstrate a clear understanding of where energy management is heading.”

Digital technology eases complexity.

The number of corporates deploying technologies such as smart meters, sensors and other smart assets has doubled between 2019 and 2020. 63% of organisations that have invested in new technologies havehigher confidence in preparedness for innovations in resource management. 

48% of organisations are adapting their energy or sustainability data management programmes based on growth in connected devices and 24% say the same about growth in artificial intelligence. However, 54% are still managing their data using spreadsheets.

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Prioritising climate change

Environmental considerations are a top driver for corporate energy and sustainability initiatives according to 51.5% of executives.

Climate change is the top risk to energy and resource supply according to 58% of the survey participants.

  • Public perception is a driving factor for sustainable energy investment with brand/reputation (50%) and competitive advantage (47%) top of mind. 
  • 70% have set energy or sustainability targets and announced them publicly, compared to just 57% in 2019.
  • 75% of respondents say that they have increased goals over those previously set, and those that have increased goals are more confident they will meet them.