Afternoon, Deloitte

The consulting firm Deloitte recently released a report entitled “Every Company Is An Energy Company (And If It Isn’t, It Will Be Soon)”.

The main message is that, with increasing energy prices, it will be imperative for every company to consider how to reduce energy consumption in its buildings and its shipping/fleet, as well as what kind of self-production of electricity and/or heat.

The secondary message is that a long-term shift to “values-based capitalism” is afoot.  Companies need to minimize their environmental footprint – in large part, through their energy strategy – because customers, shareholders and employees alike are increasingly demanding that companies do so.

The authors, Nick Main (Deloitte’s Global Managing Partner of Climate Change and Sustainability) and Joseph Stanislaw (independent senior advisor to Deloitte), make the case that the clean energy game is just beginning:  Clean Energy 1.0 will evolve to Clean Energy 2.0 and 3.0 and so on over the generations to come.  And, it will take generations, because the energy asset base is long-lived and human behaviors of those making decisions are hard to change.

More bluntly, good ideas often become widely adopted only when those opposing the good ideas die off.

It is notable that Deloitte’s white paper appears to be aiming for, and solely references (with one exception:  National Grid (NYSE: NGG)), companies that are currently only consumers of energy — and major consumer brands to boot:  Unilever (NYSE: UN), IBM (NYSE: IBM), United Parcel System (NYSE: UPS), Dell (NASDAQ: DELL), PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP).  The text is essentially silent in its (potential) messages to companies that are energy suppliers themselves or that supply to the energy industry. 

Is it because Deloitte has already told this message in another format to companies that are already generating revenues (as opposed to incurring costs) from energy?  Or, is it because such companies just don’t like the message and don’t want to hear it again?

Will it take generational turnover in the energy sector itself before Deloitte’s story is more widely endorsed?

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