IHS Chemical Week


Survey: Firms Focus on Energy Efficiency and Cost Reduction

3:51 PM MDT | October 24, 2011 | By CHUCK DIESE

For the third consecutive year, Chemical Week teamed up with CSC (Falls Church, VA), a global business solutions provider, to survey executives on sustainability and regulatory challenges. The survey received over 200 responses and interviews with a dozen top executives.

This year’s survey results highlight that companies are taking in – and preparing for - expanded and more complex product regulations and deriving more value from their sustainability programs through an emphasis on energy efficiency and cost reduction. The majority of companies are investing in technologies to automate product regulatory compliance.

Businesses are focused on energy efficiency, among other things.
Photo courtesy chaunceydavis818's flickr photostream, via creative commons license.

Unsurprisingly, government-mandated regulations continue to dominate sustainability expenditures closely followed by energy management.

There is a sharp increase in the number of companies reporting customer imperatives on sustainability performance in their buying decisions. There is also a significant increase in companies reporting a relaxed expectation of sustainability performance by customers, which may be indicative of economic conditions with cost pressures overshadowing sustainability goals.

Most sustainability issues gained importance in 2011. Energy and regulatory compliance importance is consistent with the commitment of resources and budget. The increase in importance of renewable energy and water conservation show additional interest in cost savings and likely capital investment to achieve additional savings.

Respondents indicated significant progress toward common enterprise-wide carbon management compared with the previous year’s survey.

Companies are gearing up capabilities to more tightly manage energy costs, measure efficiency, and reduce their environmental impact. Integration of energy and sustainability performance is becoming more common.

Manufacturers are still in the early stages of managing energy costs from production, representing a large potential upside. Companies are best prepared with sufficient metering but have not connected them sufficiently for real-time capture and monitoring against standards.

Leading companies are concerned about water consumption during manufacture and throughout the lifecycle of products, but most companies are not well prepared to address climate-related risks to their current and future operations.

Most respondents fully expect cyber attacks on their manufacturing facilities and most believe they are sufficiently prepared to detect and stop them before damage occurs. Interestingly, there is no change in perceived plant risks since 2010, with 70% of companies planning to expand investment in new capabilities to fend off attacks.

To get a detailed overview of the survey findings, register for CW's FREE webcast What are the New Opportunities in Compliance and Sustainability? The webcast is next Wednesday, November 2, at 10am ET/3pm GMT. Register now!

Chuck Diese is v.p./process industries at CSC, a consultancy.

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