Many people mistakenly assume that energy efficiency is an expensive luxury that major companies would rather avoid than encourage. Not so. From top retailers to electronics manufacturers, many of the world’s biggest companies make energy efficiency an important corporate value.
The reasons for this are numerous. Firstly, many companies are becoming more aware of their social responsibilities. Secondly, becoming more energy efficient is cost effective, particularly for businesses that depend on electrical equipment for manufacturing and retail sales.
The six companies profiled in this article range from retailers to banks to consumer electronics manufacturers. While their industries may be very different, they share one thing in common: a genuine, serious commitment to reducing energy usage and improving the health of the world.
1. Philips Electronics
Dutch company Philips is one of the world’s most socially responsible electronics manufacturers, according to the 2013 Macleans and Sustainalytics Top 50 Socially Responsible Companies list.
Philips has made environmental protection and energy efficiency a core corporate value, going so far as to mention its environmental performance alongside its key financial metrics in its annual reports.
It’s also focused its own internal research and development department towards energy efficiency. In April 2013, it created the first efficient LED lamp prototype, which used just half as much energy as a conventional LED lamp.
Well-known retail chain Wal-Mart takes energy efficiency seriously. This big-box retailer was one of the first in its industry to study the effects of natural light and sustainable architecture on the sales of products in its retail stores.
Due to its huge logistical requirements, Wal-Mart has explored alternative energy sources in order to make its operations more green. It’s also invested heavily into energy efficiency, building each of its stores to use as little energy as possible.
3. Royal Bank of Canada
One of Canada’s largest banks, Royal Bank of Canada has made environmental health and energy efficiency an important part of its mission. In 2012, RBC underwrote the country’s first investment-grade solar bond, which will support two solar plants in Canada.
As well as its commitment to reducing energy consumption and funding green fuel sources, RBC has made a serious effort to eliminate any commercial partnerships with suppliers that use conflict metals.
4. Cisco Systems
Computer hardware manufacturer Cisco Systems has made energy efficiency a major aspect of its business. 100 percent of Cisco’s numerous contract manufacturers – as well as 90 percent of its transportation partners – report to the Carbon Disclosure Project.
As well as reducing energy consumption in its supply chain, Cisco has designed most of its new products for optimum energy efficiency. 96 percent of Cisco products are made using “design-for-environment” principles during their development.
5. Apple Inc.
Cupertino-based consumer electronics company Apple Inc. has always been known for its innovative designs and forward-thinking attitude. When it comes to energy efficiency and environmental responsibility, this leading computer manufacturer is no different.
All of Apple’s products exceed the ENERGY STAR specifications for optimum energy efficiency. The company’s desktop computers are its most efficient product, beating the ENERGY STAR standards by being 7.6x more efficient than the minimum passing grade.
BMW is one of several automotive manufacturers making a serious commitment to energy efficiency and sustainability. Every year, this German automotive company holds a competition for its suppliers to pitch their best sustainability solutions.
Suppliers with excellent ideas for sustainable manufacturing are awarded the BMW Group Supplier Innovation Award. BMW has also located its manufacturing plants in close proximity to sources of renewable energy to reduce its environmental impact.
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