New York (July 3, 2007)- A recent survey by Hill & Knowlton consultancy showed that most companies in China, the United States, Canada and Britain have not laid out plans to improve their energy efficiency. Nearly two-thirds of the 420 senior business executives surveyed in these four countries said no one in their organization had been tasked with overseeing the company’s energy strategy.
Over three-quarters of the respondents said there was a need to create a new role of “Chief Energy Officer” to oversee the firm’s energy strategy. Demand for such a role was highest in China, where 87 percent of the companies saw the need, followed by Canada at 84 percent. The United States lagged at 66 percent.
There is already evidence of a response to this demand. An article published July 3 in the New York Times highlighted several US companies that have appointed Chief Sustainability Officers in an effort to “profit from the push to go green.”
These green executives have diverse backgrounds, but all have the power to influence their companies’ research, product development, and marketing decisions from an environmental perspective. “Environmental vice presidents usually spend company money, but this new breed is helping companies make money,” said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.
The upshot, said Geoffrey Heal, a business professor at the Columbia Business School, is that “what started out as a compliance job has evolved into one that guards the value of the brand.”
Hill & Knowlton
New York Times