New research from Schneider Electric indicates that while most organizations feel ready for a decentralized, decarbonized and digitized future, many aren’t taking the necessary steps to integrate and advance their energy and sustainability programs.

Tricoire SchneiderClick image to enlargeJean-Pascal Tricoire, chairman and CEO, Schneider Electric

The survey of 236 large corporations, released as global leaders met at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, finds most companies still take conventional approaches to energy management and climate action. And gaps in innovation are further complicated by limited coordination between procurement, operations and sustainability departments, as well as inefficient data collection and sharing. 

While 81 per cent of companies have made efficiency upgrades – or plan to – 30 per cent or less are considering new energy opportunities such as microgrids and demand response

Eighty-five per cent of respondents said their company is taking action over the next three years to keep carbon-reduction plans competitive with industry leaders, but the projects that have been initiated or are in development skew heavily toward energy, water and waste conservation. Outside of renewables, few of the organizations represented are implementing more advanced strategies and technologies to manage energy and emissions. 

Key findings:

  • Eighty-one per cent of respondents have made energy efficiency upgrades or plan to within the next two years; 75 per cent are working to reduce water consumption and waste.
  • Fifty-one per cent have completed or are planning to pursue renewable energy projects.
  • Just 30 per cent have implemented or are actively planning to use energy storage, microgrids or combined heat and power — or some mix of the technologies.
  • Only 23 per cent have demand response strategies or plan to in the near term.

"We are in the middle of a massive disruption in the way energy is consumed and produced," said Jean-Pascal Tricoire, chairman and CEO at Schneider Electric. "The near-universal focus on conservation is a positive. However, being a savvy consumer is only a part of what's needed to survive and thrive. Companies need to prepare to be an active energy participant, putting the pieces in place to produce energy, and interact with the grid, utilities, peers and other new entrants. Those that fail to act now will be left behind."

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