Seeing the Opportunity in Every Kilowatt Hour


From Robert Allender at Energy Use Strategy Advisors

There is no need to question whether energy use is strategic or not. Any resource that a business cannot operate without and that costs money is by definition strategic, not tactical.

Add to those two characteristics the fact that energy use is the root cause of a worldwide problem that many of a company’s stakeholders care about – climate change. Energy use is also the root cause of deadly urban air pollution and causes serious environmental damage and social damage in many forms, so the ‘strategic’ implications cut even deeper.

An energy use strategy is the way a company or institution or city deals with energy use. Every organisation has an energy use strategy. Most, however, only have an implicit strategy, an unstated strategy.

If put into words, most companies’ energy use strategy would be similar to this: “Our company does not pay a lot of attention to energy use. We use energy the way we have always used energy. We have a reliable supply and the cost is not onerous. We do not waste energy intentionally. From time to time we invest in some equipment or technology we have been convinced will reduce our energy expense.”

Those companies, institutions, and cities which have a strong energy use strategy are able to say something different about their energy use. They are able to say “Our organisation treats energy use with the degree of attention and investment commensurate with the highest value which energy use can potentially return to our shareholders. We exploit our strengths to increase that value – our strengths in marketing, human capital, finance, planning, investing, or information technology. Above all, we treat our energy use as an asset, not a cost.”

If a company’s Chairmen or board were to ask the senior management if the company has a strong energy use strategy, no one would want to answer ‘no’. But many would have to do so.

Energy Use Strategy Advisors is a Hong Kong firm which has been providing services to improve companies’ and institutions’ energy use since 1992. Energy Use Strategy Advisors takes a unique and entirely innovative approach to energy use.

Few executives leading business, institutions, and other entities would consider it wise to continue to deal with energy the same way they did in the 1970s. The criticality of energy to the massive problems of global warming, resource misallocation, and air pollution has changed everything since then. Critical scrutiny by shareholders, current and prospective employees, customers, regulators, industry bodies, and the community at large is how this issue manifests itself. On top of this, it is fiscally unsound to continue overspending on energy by accepting merely mediocre management of this resource when excellence is so readily achieved. It is these issues which ERM helps our clients to resolve.