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The First Step to Efficient Sustainability: Define Shared Goals

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Energy and sustainability are inherently linked. Energy efficiency pays dividends by trimming consumption and costs. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), implementing energy efficiency initiatives is the best way to act on climate change, as it can reduce CO2 emissions by 38 percent. However, becoming an efficient, sustainable business requires a collaborative effort from almost all parts of an organization.

Our new How-To Guide provides 6 steps to break down silos of efficiency and sustainability teams, and unlock greater opportunities. Below we present one of these steps.

Define common, meaningful targets and KPIs, and track performance jointly

Developing common targets, key performance indicators (KPIs) and baselines ensures that teams are working toward the same goals. One effective method is to host workshops with attendees from each department to agree on goals and performance tracking. The participation of energy, sustainability, supply chain, operations, facility and finance teams is crucial. Once the system is approved, everyone will understand how they can contribute to superior performance.

Quick tips:

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Schneider Electric.
  1. Keep it simple. Choose four to five KPIs that describe energy and sustainability performance in a sufficient way. More details will add complexity and minimize common understanding. Energy services consultants with segment expertise can add value to a KPI discussion.
  2. Total energy consumption isn’t sufficient to track progress. Develop a joint agreement on how consumption will be normalized based on influencing factors such as production, occupant loads, weather, etc.
  3. Connect CO2 and energy efficiency targets in a meaningful way. For example, layering clean energy sources on top of standard energy conservation measures can have a compounding effect on CO2 metrics.
  4. Share common industry KPIs to benchmark against and best practices from peer companies to help jumpstart performance.

What efficiency teams need to know about sustainability teams

Sustainability teams think globally and are driven by corporate commitments. Energy is only one of their responsibilities and may not be their top priority. Their job is to think holistically about the organization’s impact on the environment, resource consumption, supply chain practices, employee engagement and society at large. When working with this team, keep the larger perspective in mind and don’t get bogged down with too many technical details. They will be open to any contribution that helps achieve overall targets.

What sustainability teams need to know about efficiency teams

Efficiency (aka energy) teams manage the use of electricity and other utilities at company sites. Typically led by engineers, they are highly technical in their approach to problem solving. They work closely with local operational teams, and put a strong emphasis on daily routines and production processes. When working with these teams, it is essential to understand and respect their practical expertise. These teams usually operate on very strict, and often lean, budgets. Additional dollars from the larger sustainability program may allow them to implement efficiency ideas that they have had for years, but couldn’t fund.

Download the How-To guide to learn 5 more steps to breaking down silos between efficiency and sustainability teams.

Learn strategies your organization can use to strengthen the link between efficiency and sustainability teams, and maximize the results of both programs.


Mike Fraser is the Vice President of Global Sustainability Services for Schneider Electric. Mike leads Schneider Electric’s growth initiatives in the area of sustainability consulting and services, including the company’s renewable energy and cleantech services, along with its online sustainability and… [Read more about Mike Fraser]


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