Roadmap to Sustainability: Does Your Business Have A Plan in Place?
It’s becoming second nature for companies to make sustainability a key component of their business strategies. The Business Roundtable, a group of CEOs of America’s leading companies, met in August 2019 to discuss a new business of governance that includes embracing sustainable practices.1 This governance aligns with the “conscious capitalism” ideology in which businesses keep in mind all stakeholders, such as their local communities, when making pertinent business decisions.2
In an effort to make strong sustainability statements, many companies are aiming for carbon neutrality by a certain year. While some businesses may have the resources onsite to plan for and integrate sustainable practices into their business strategies, others may need assistance. Energy suppliers, such as Constellation, can inform customers about the trends in sustainability and help them develop and implement an integrated strategy to meet their business’ short- or long-term goals.
In an effort to make strong sustainability statements, many companies are aiming for carbon neutrality by a certain year.
Constellation can help build a customized roadmap that incorporates your goals and budgets to recommend a plan with a gradual transition from brown to green power supply with minimum risk. The plan may also include utilizing our technology and Constellation Technology Ventures (CTV) portfolio companies to help reduce demand and your business’ overall carbon footprint. Once a sustainability plan is in place, the roadmap could be shared with customers, shareholders and other stakeholders to show the business’ commitment to sustainability.
The roadmap may start with steps that come with low incremental costs: the purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs) and/or emission-free energy certificates (EFECs); and may end with the procurement of offsite renewables, efficiency upgrades or onsite solar, which may come with higher incremental costs.
A Sample Roadmap to Sustainability:
1. The Purchase of EFECs and RECs
EFECs are created to represent the emission-free attributes of generating sources, as defined by PJM, that do not directly emit greenhouse gases from combustion, such as solar, wind, nuclear and hydropower. For example, when you purchase a Carbon-Free Electricity Plan from Constellation, the electricity you purchase will be matched with EFECs from those energy sources providing you with carbon-free electricity.
RECs, on the other hand, represent the positive environmental attributes of one megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity generated by a renewable power plant, such as from wind power, and retired on behalf of customers wishing to promote their environmental commitment.
“While investing in RECs or EFECs comes with a small incremental cost, it allows a business to let the customers and shareholders quickly know they’ve started their process toward achieving sustainable practices,” says Raj Bazaj, Constellation’s executive director of retail power sales.
2. Energy Efficiency Upgrades
Energy efficiency upgrades come in the form of infrastructure improvements, such as LED lighting and HVAC upgrades. The Energy Made Efficiency (EME) program, which requires no upfront capital, is one example of Constellation’s service offering in this area. Under this program, customers can realize a cost savings by reducing energy consumption (and consequently carbon emissions), and the charges for efficiency projects appear on your energy bill.
3. Installation of Onsite Solar
By hosting a solar system on site, you can lower your electric bill, eliminate energy price volatility and increase energy reliability, as well as potentially participate in associated sustainability benefits and carbon offsets. Constellation installs an on-site solar photovoltaic (PV) asset at no upfront cost to the customer and typically retains solar facility ownership risk, handling operation and maintenance. The customer signs a contract with Constellation to purchase the electricity generated by the solar PV system.
In 2016, Amphitheater Public Schools in Tucson, Ariz., installed more than 9.3 megawatts of onsite solar on 25 sites across the district. This has allowed the district to make the claim that it is estimated to support more than 60% of the district’s electricity needs via the solar installation.
4. Procurement of Offsite Renewables
Customers can achieve renewable goals and make a local offsite renewable energy purchase with a retail power supply contract through our Constellation Offsite Renewables (CORe) product. Through Constellation’s CORe and CORe+ solutions, customers have the ability to either integrate renewable energy purchases from existing renewable generation into a load-following energy supply or support the development of new renewable energy assets on their regional grid, making a powerful sustainability statement.
In order to keep track of all of the progress made related to your business’ reductions in carbon emissions, Constellation customers have access to Measurabl, a cloud-based software startup and CTV portfolio company that collects data, presents peer benchmarking information, and creates investment-grade sustainability reports. These reports allow businesses to show the results of their sustainability initiatives and their commitment to improving the environment to both internal and external audiences.
When it comes to setting goals for energy sustainability activities, it is critical to find the right pace for your organization. It’s equally important to have the right energy supplier to help you navigate what can sometimes be an overwhelming and seemingly complicated process—one that can help ensure your organization is on the right path and receiving the greatest benefit based on your overall company strategy. Learn more about our energy solutions by visiting www.constellation.com.