Businesses back calls to save $2trn annually through energy demand measures

New research, backed by more than 120 major business leaders, has found that actions that can be delivered today could help slash energy usage by one-third globally across all sectors, delivering annual savings of at least $2trn.

Businesses back calls to save $2trn annually through energy demand measures

New research from the World Economic Forum’s Transforming Energy Demand initiative – and a new report – launched in collaboration with PwC – has highlighted the economic and social benefits of delivering demand-side actions across heavy-emitting industries such as buildings and transport.

The research found that “practical actions” across buildings, industry and transport could deliver a 31% reduction in energy, shared across all sectors. This, the research states, could be delivered in the short term and is equivalent to avoiding the construction of 3,000 extra power stations.

The “potential of this demand-side action is extraordinary”, the report states. Savings could be driven by the integration of artificial intelligence to optimize factory line design, energy efficiency, value chain collaboration, industrial clustering to share clean energy initiatives, retrofitting buildings and electrification of transport.

The research has been backed by 120 chief executives, who are members of the International Business Council (IBC) and the businesses represented account for 3% of global energy demand.

“Policy-makers and business leaders need to collaborate to accelerate an energy transition that creates positive outcomes for people, society and the planet,” The World Economic Forum’s managing director Olivier Schwab said.

“The private sector can play a leading role in this transformation, which is why the International Business Council decided to focus on their businesses’ energy consumption with practical actions each organisation can take today both individually and through their value chains.”

Global negotiations

The findings in the report will be discussed at the Annual Meeting 2024 in Davos-Klosters, when the IBC meets with government leaders.

The IBC notes that businesses will need policy support, as well as public awareness campaigns, in order to implement the savings. Almost half of IBC chief executives claimed in the report that there is a lack of enabling regulation for businesses to kickstart energy reduction efforts.

At the World Leaders Summit at COP28, more than 100 countries signed up to a commitment to keep the 1.5C pathway of the Paris Agreement alive by pledging to triple global renewable capacity and doubling energy efficiency by 2030, alongside another key pledge to phase out emissions from methane.

A total of 116 countries have signed up to the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge, which will see them aim to triple global renewable generation capacity to at least 11,000 gigawatts and to double the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements from around 2% to more than 4% every year until 2030.

The Climate Group, which is behind the RE100 initiative, has echoed the findings that policy barriers are holding back efficiency gains in a recent report.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie