Managing energy consumption is an integral component of an organization’s sustainability efforts. By establishing and practicing the right energy management strategies, organizations achieve tangible results reflected in their return on investment (ROI) and productivity reports. Being energy-efficient helps organizations reduce operational costs and lessen carbon activity. If joint global efforts on energy management were universally implemented, a 40% reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their 1990 levels will be achieved by 2030, according to a McKinsey report.
Companies are beginning to see the importance of establishing efficient and innovative energy management systems, especially as they relate to mitigating the risks that directly affect how businesses operate. Industry experts note that recent technological advancements and innovations in energy efficiency strategies help industries grow and achieve healthier profits, by improving operational efficiency.
The impacts of global climate change are felt in business and everyday life. They are evident in heavy rainfalls and thunderstorms, melting polar ice caps, increasing global temperatures, longer droughts, and rising sea-levels and flash floods. As reported by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, climate change is considered a major threat to mankind. Climate-related issues adversely affect our access to basic human needs such as food, shelter, water and health. Farmers are particularly affected, as drought or major flooding lead to a decrease in crop yields and livestock productivity. Climate change impacts must be addressed in order to secure our collective future.
Over the past few years, integrating sustainability into an organization’s business agenda has become a necessity. Organizations face environmental risks brought about by climate change including droughts, flood and heat stress. In order to address these challenges, companies need to reinvent their sustainability strategy and risk management capabilities.
As corporate sustainability rapidly becomes a core element of global business, companies need to adjust accordingly to be competitive. Industry experts advise that to be able to embrace the paradigm shift, organizations must have key leaders who have a clear vision of the direction of their environmental, social and governance (ESG) programs. They need the right sustainability leaders to continually raise the bar when it comes to the sustainability programs reflected in their annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports. The Guardian News stressed that these reports are considered vital by shareholders and investors in their decision-making process, as they showcase a company’s ESG and CSR efforts.
Global leaders achieved a major landmark on climate change mitigation during last year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference. The annual event, established during the mid-1990s, aids the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to establish a platform for openly discussing the Kyoto Protocol and negotiating its implementation. Also known as the Conference of the Parties (COP), the COP20 conference was held in Lima, Peru and facilitated discussions on a global climate agreement that will help reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to limit the rise in global temperature.
2014 was an eventful year for sustainable development and climate change mitigation efforts. As the impact of the changing climate became more indisputable, initiatives for sustainable development continued to promote dialogue among private sector, government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) around the globe. Sustainable development initiatives gained traction worldwide in 2014; some highlights included: the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon organizing the UN Climate Summit held during Climate Week NYC; the EU announcing the reduction by at least 40% of its carbon emissions by 2030; and China and the United States’ climate agreement at the COP20 in Lima, Peru.
The 2014 United Nations World Water Development Report anticipates that global water demand will increase by 55% by the year 2050, due to increasing water requirements for manufacturing, thermal electricity generation and domestic consumer use. Supporting this projection is Ceres, a non-profit organization promoting sustainability leadership, which predicts that continuous population and economic growth will trigger a growing demand for more potable water and food in the coming years. According to WWF, a leading conservation organization, the agricultural sector alone consumes about 70% of the world’s freshwater resources. Food production relies on water, and unsustainable water use in the agricultural sector can harm the environment, resulting in a diminished supply of clean and potable water.
The manufacturing industry was hit hard by the global financial crisis of 2008. As some manufacturing facilities could no longer pay for production costs, they had to close their doors, causing layoffs all over the world. Since 2010, the industry has slowly and steadily been recovering from the crisis. Factories opened for business again and employment has increased for some. Although there is no certainty in how long this growth trend will last, experts have claimed recent innovations in energy efficiency and sustainable practices have the potential to continue to help the industry flourish.
Many organizations are endangered by the unprecedented environmental risks that the world is experiencing today. As the world’s industries are affected by drought, heat stress and flooding, organizations are taking the necessary steps to mitigate climate risks. Support for sustainability has increased among business communities, and many organizations acknowledge that improving their sustainability performance by monitoring their energy use, natural resource access, and waste management can have a substantial effect on improving their climate resilience.
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