TMCnet Feature
July 20, 2020

Doug Healy Discusses How Energy Companies Can Make The Shift To Sustainability

Energy companies are one of the keys to a green future. These billion-dollar companies have all made the shift to sustainable energy to different degrees. Many of them are considering how they can become fully sustainable and completely swear off the use of fossil fuels. This process will not be easy. It may take years of hard work, sacrificed profits, and angry shareholders and employees. But companies can still make the shift if they do so carefully and with the best interests of all stakeholders in mind.

Hire experts

One of the strongest forces keeping a large number of energy companies from embracing sustainable industry is institutional inertia. The people who work for these companies know that a sustainable shift will be significant. They know that it might fundamentally alter their workday and the rest of their careers at a company. This status pushes them to fight back against change along with shareholders. Shareholders often believe that they may lose money in the process of any sustainability shift.

They know about all of the recent troubles and pitfalls that sustainable energy companies have faced in the past. As a result, companies have to be vigilant about these concerns. They must talk to employees and bring in their input when considering what to do about a sustainability shift. They also need to hire experts who will both help with the shift and help with employees getting used to the new working conditions. The worst possible way to make such a shift is to do so without the input of employees.

Focus on gradual changes

A shift to sustainability must be done gradually for the vast majority of energy companies. These companies have to start out small. They often have pilot programs where they switch out one particular boiler or section of their plant for a green energy generator. The company may invest in a small array of solar panels and work those panels into the overall generation project. They may make one particular part of their business green and then compare the performance of that business sector to all of the others.

This process is helpful for employees to get used to the new changes in their working days. It can also be helpful for shareholders. A sustainability shift can be completed in such a way that will improve a stock price over time. Gradual changes and small successes may serve to ease the worries of shareholders and help these people stay invested for the company's changes.

Focus on technology

Technology has to also be at the center of a sustainability shift. Companies have to be updated on the newest technologies that are released in their sector. Often, these new technologies can help speed up and improve the sustainability process. Billions of dollars in research and development goes into green technology each year. There are new solar panels that better absorb the sun's rays and better batteries to store intermittent forms of energy such as solar and wind.

Companies must use the latest technology when they are considering making a change to sustainable energy. Doug Healy argues that they should utilize new experts to help implement this technology and to train their previous employees on how to use it. Companies should also have a review process where they bring in new technology after a certain period of time. The review process will help point out new pieces of technology that may greatly improve the bottom line for the company as they go about their sustainability shift.

Be transparent

Above all, energy companies have to be transparent when they are changing the fundamental nature of their businesses. They should not pretend past a certain point that they are making a change that is either much larger or smaller than it actually is. To that end, companies must publicize the performance of their sustainable energy arms. There should be a plan for a sustainable shift that is followed and also tweaked as is necessary.

Transparency helps shareholders, employees, and the general public know what a company is doing and know how that company is aiding the community. It can also be essential in helping energy companies build their reputation back over time. If a company continually announces its progress and challenges, the general public will trust its eventually successful numbers when they are released once the shift is completed. According to Doug Healy, building trust back is an essential part of any sustainability shift.

Energy companies have been portrayed as the villains of the climate change process. They stand to make trillions of dollars over the next few decades off of fossil fuels. In order to change this reputation, energy companies have to make difficult decisions and truly embrace the sustainability revolution at every level. Such a process is essential to enacting change and significantly altering the nature of climate change throughout the world in this century.

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