Energy efficiency could soon have its day
While it is clearly demonstrable that cost effective carbon savings can be made through energy efficiency measures, many companies are still opting for more immediately eye-catching green initiatives - even though it may be more expensive to do so.Speaking at an event organised by green communications consultants Carbon International, Gary Park of energy saving firm Evolve described energy efficiency as the geeky younger brother to renewable energy's beautiful older sister.
"A grey box [to monitor energy use] does not look sexy, while a wind turbine does," he said.
And that, in a nutshell, has been the problem for energy efficiency - while it looks good on the balance sheet, it doesn't give a company's PR team much to run with.
That is changing, though, as public and corporate attitudes to corporate social responsibility mature.
"Investors in particular like the idea of energy efficiency but they're still unclear about the businesses and business models they might invest in," Tom Whitehouse, Carbon International's chief executive, told edie.
"People don't know anything about the particular companies involved in this area."
He argued that introducing energy efficiency measures was less vulnerable to accusations of greenwash than many high profile but potentially less effective ways of reducing a company's environmental impact.
"I actually think that the days of glib carbon projects such as planting trees are gone," he said.
"It's more credible for a chief finance officer to say 'we're reducing our costs and by the way that's also translated into a carbon reduction'. It's a more honest message that nobody's going to be cynical about."
"We're in an age now when cutting costs to reduce carbon is a very compelling and real story."