The trend for renewable energy and embracing emission reduction targets is saving the biggest U.S. companies more than $1 billion a year. A study, Power Forward, How American Companies Are Setting Clean Energy Targets and Capturing Greater Business Value, tells us that low carbon corporate strategies are becoming the new norm.

For the largest corporations in the United States, clean energy is now becoming huge money saver. Overall, 43 percent of Fortune 500 companies have set targets in one of three categories: greenhouse gas reduction, energy efficiency and renewable energy. As companies exceed their targets, they make new renewable energy projects and expanded deployment of energy efficiency in states across the country. For the 20 Fortune 100 companies with targets that ended in 2012, 85 percent achieved their target and 80 percent have gone on to set greater targets or still have other ongoing targets.

What should your company do?

  • Companies with greenhouse gas targets should also set renewable energy and energy efficiency targets. Many companies are realizing a strong return on investment by achieving these targets.
  • To measure progress, companies should publicly disclose the amount of renewable energy they purchase annually compared to their total energy consumption.
  • Companies should identify opportunities to support local, state and national policies that remove barriers to scale up renewable energy, deploy energy efficiency, and enable companies to achieve their climate commitments.

Many large U.S. companies are showing the value of clean energy, yet more than 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies have not adopted the same practices and are missing opportunities to save money, generate shareholder value and minimize their environmental footprint. The more companies on board with the green movement, the healthier the environment will be, but the unwillingness to adopt these eco-friendly practices raises concerns with the way corporate response to climate change.