If the planet is to avoid the serious consequences of climate change then society, and we, need to change our behaviours. Business is under growing pressure to ‘go green’ from consumers, governments and employees.
Is going green just about fitting solar panels to your buildings or is it a change in culture? Or is it both?
The Energy Hierarchy
The ‘Energy Hierarchy’ shows is a simple concept listing the actions that we all need to take to becoming more ‘green’. The priorities are shown in the below diagram where the most sustainable actions are at the top of the pyramid and the least are at the bottom.
Reduce the need for energy by changing your own behaviours to cut out wasteful consumption. An example is turning the lights off when there is no one in a room.
Human error is inevitable and, to use the above example, lights will be left on. Deploy technology that uses energy efficiently. Investing in motion sensors to turn off lights when there is no one in a room.
If you have to consume energy then use renewable energy. Switch to green tariffs using wind, solar, hydro or nuclear energy or consider investing in your own, on-site power generation with solar panels or wind turbines.
The technology or investment for green energy may not be feasible in all cases and then the best ‘green’ solution is to use clean and efficient fossil fuels as part of the energy mix. Switch from coal to cleaner fuels like natural gas, for example.
Developing a Green Supply Chain
No organisation can go green overnight. The investment, for many, simply doesn’t make it practical to do so but adopting a robust and systematic approach to improving supply chain sustainability is a strong foundation to build from.
Measure energy consumption and monitor changes over time, set targets for reducing consumption (aggregated or relative to volume), assess opportunities and develop a roadmap to achieve your goals, as you would any other process improvement.
Measure current performance on energy consumption to identify opportunities and track progress of future changes
Set challenging targets annually to drive operational focus to reduce energy consumption and regularly review progress
Adopt ‘Energy Hierarchy’ mentality, reducing the need for energy as a first priority, before focusing on the efficiency and cleanliness of the energy
Develop a roadmap for how to meet the set targets once the opportunities have been assessed, review progress and set new targets regularly