The UN Global Compact and Accenture (NYSE: ACN) have today released a series of new reports, Sustainable Energy for All: The Business Opportunity. Outlining business action across 19 industry sectors, the reports highlight how businesses can create value by supporting the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which aims to expand energy access worldwide, improve energy efficiency and increase the share of renewables.
The body of work features 19 “Industry Opportunity” reports focusing on individual sectors, including retail; food and agriculture; automotive; information and communications technology (ICT); chemicals; mining; utilities; transportation; healthcare; financial services; travel and leisure; and renewable energy. The reports aim to provide guidance and inspire companies across all industries to take action in pursuit of sustainable energy.
Based on research and interviews with more than 70 companies, the reports recommend several industry priority actions designed to advance the goals of Sustainable Energy for All.
Fifty percent of the recommended actions within the reports focus on energy efficiency, 38 percent on renewable energy use and 12 percent on access to energy. The five most common priority actions identified across all sectors were driving energy efficiency in operations as well as through energy efficient products and services; the use of renewable energy in operations; reusing waste streams; and engaging in stakeholder engagement and advocacy.Highlighting that all industry sectors have a role to play in advancing the sustainable energy agenda, the reports point to four ways in which businesses can derive value from supporting the initiative: reducing cost, mitigating risks, generating new revenues and enhancing brand reputation. For example, the reports estimate that the mining industry could reduce costs by up to 10 to 15 percent; retail by up to 20 percent; utilities by up to 25 percent; and public building portfolios by up to 35 percent. The new reports also identify two major challenges: the lack of global policy and regulatory solutions, and the subsequent need for sectors to introduce industry-wide standards that provide governments with a framework to support. Meanwhile, the high level of risk associated with the recommended actions is also identified, and incorporates suggestions that the creation of new financing mechanisms and instruments will be required by both the public and private sectors.