Most of us have already encountered the landmark report authored by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which revealed that global temperatures are continuing to rise towards unsustainable levels as a result of man-made emissions and deforestation. As The Guardian notes, “there is only a dozen years (remaining) for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C,” and “urgent and unprecedented changes are needed to reach the target.” This alarming call to action comes at a time when the United States is rolling back important environmental policies.
Hot on the heels of the IPCC report comes upsetting news from Bain & Company in the form of a report that reveals “The Disappointing Reality of Sustainability Efforts.” While institutional change of any kind is hard to implement, Bain discovered that only 4% of companies self-report that they are meeting or exceeding their sustainability goals. A full 47% of companies say that their sustainability efforts have “failed.”
Why is progress so slow at a time when it is more urgently needed than ever before? More importantly, what can companies do to put themselves on the path to success?
The Difficulty of Creating Change
Bain’s report contrasts sustainability efforts with “all change efforts,” revealing that sustainability lags considerably behind other initiatives. While companies self-report only a 12% success rate in “all change efforts,” the drop to 4% reporting success in sustainability is significant. As Bain notes, “sustainability change is harder to achieve than other types of change,” and the higher failure rate of sustainability efforts “suggests challenges driving ambitions through to results.”
In our tenure in the renewable energy space, we’ve seen this pattern play out too many times. Meetings are called to discuss sustainability, changes are suggested, research is begun, and then results never materialize. As Jive notes in “How to Overcome the Top 10 Challenges to Business Sustainability”, there are many obstacles that stand in the way, including financing, company culture, lack of information, and “where to start.”
“Where to start” seems to be where ambitions to create change most often falter. However, the answer is simple: just start! Whether upgrading equipment or replacing outdated light bulbs to save energy or installing solar PV panels and battery storage to produce and store your own, there is no step in the wrong direction other than not taking action at all.
Solar Sustainability Benefits Everyone
We’ve written before about the many benefits of adopting solar technology in the business and industrial space. Both the IPCC report and Bain’s study of sustainability efforts add new urgency for companies that want to mitigate their negative impact on the environment, gain a foothold with environmentally-conscious consumers, and save money on electric bills.
Implementing solar technology as part of your sustainability plan can significantly lower your energy expenditures, especially if you incorporate battery storage. For commercial offices and facilities that consume large amounts of power, the ability to lower demand charges through “peak shaving” results in significant savings that augment standard utility reductions. These savings often quickly pay for the cost of the initial solar installation and only grow in value as they add up over the long term, especially when continually rising utility rates are considered.
Solar installations directly impact company sustainability efforts by reducing dependence on fossil fuels and our outdated power delivery infrastructure. They also help connect environmentally-minded companies with the growing base of consumers who make purchasing decisions based on sustainability and environmental impact. From your pocketbook to the planet as a whole, solar sustainability benefits everyone.
If you’re ready to call your company’s sustainability efforts a success, consider starting with solar. Solar Design Studio’s longstanding experience and expertise ensure that your business can maximize the results of your solar design and installation. Contact us today!