This Week in Sustainability: Diageo’s Carbon Achievement and Renewable Energy Growth

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This Week in Sustainability: Diageo’s Carbon Achievement and Renewable Energy Growth

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clip_image002Diageo North America has accomplished an amazing thing—it has cut its emissions by 80 percent in the past four years, reports the Harvard Business Review. Diageo’s sustainability team began by creating a thorough process of collecting ideas for emissions cuts and estimating costs. They then divided the ideas into three categories and sorted by the cost of the proposed project. By implementing efforts categorized as “no-brainers,” such as lighting retrofits, boiler upgrades and switching fuels from oil to natural gas, savings added up quickly. They also took on some big-ticket investments, like the construction of a bioenergy plant that significantly reduced their emissions. With a combination of big goals and strong leadership, Diageo was able to quickly and efficiently cut carbon emissions and create a model for other corporations to follow their example.

As the conversation around energy efficiency continues, a new analysis released this week by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy found that economic productivity is more closely tied to energy efficiency than energy production, reports Greentech Media. In 2010, America spent about $574 billion on energy efficiency improvements, an 80 percent increase in spending since 2004. Americans are now placing more importance on energy efficiency: Demand for energy services has tripled in the past four decades, but actual energy consumption has only grown by 40 percent. Looking at energy production, Grist wrote that in January 100 percent of new generating capacity in the U.S. was renewable, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In total, 1,231 megawatts of capacity was added through wind, biomass and solar energy. This is a dramatic improvement from January 2012 when just 26 percent of total new energy capacity was renewable. While this only represents a single month, it’s great to see the increase in renewable energy sources, a trend we hope to see continue.

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