Savvy consumers and businesses want more from the companies they deal with. It’s not enough to simply have great products and services anymore. Now, a company that wants to be successful has to prove that it is also socially responsible, as consumers have overwhelmingly stated that they want to deal with companies that are environmentally responsible. The best way to demonstrate that your company takes social justice and environmental stewardship seriously is to set and follow a sustainability strategy. Here’s how electric vehicles and EV charging can charge up your organization’s sustainability strategy this year.
What is a sustainability strategy?
Sometimes known as a corporate responsibility strategy or corporate sustainability plan, a sustainability strategy is a “prioritized set of actions,” according to management consultancy firm Corporate Citizenship. “It provides an agreed framework to focus investment and drive performance, as well as engage internal and external stakeholders.”
When done well, developing a sustainability strategy and having a framework for enacting it can help businesses:
- Convince all levels of management to buy into sustainability
- Guide resources and investment into the most pertinent areas
- Engage external stakeholders in a meaningful way
- Drive company performance
Your sustainability strategy will need to address:
- The goals you want to reach
- The social justice and/or environmental issues that matter to your organization
- How to prioritize resources effectively to reach your sustainability goals
- How to measure your strategy’s effectiveness
- How to communicate your strategy and its results
One of the best ways to make sure your strategy supports your corporate social responsibility goals is to invest in EVs and EV charging equipment.
How do EVs and EV charging equipment help you reach sustainability targets?
One of the most common sustainability goals for businesses is reduce CO2 emissions. This is exactly what EVs were designed to do, as they have no tailpipe emissions. This is why it’s a good idea to switch your fleet from internal combustion engine vehicles to EVs. In addition, installing EV charging at your business can encourage employees and guests to buy electric vehicles.
However, emissions are about more than just the tailpipe. The source of the electricity – whether renewable sources like wind, solar, or water, or nonrenewable sources like coal – is also important. And while the energy grid is slowly becoming more “clean” as suppliers switch to renewable sources, business owners can also make a difference.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory states in one report, “The emissions benefits of workplace charging increase as the carbon intensity of the grid is reduced. Sensitivity analysis indicates that the Workplace charging scenario continues to result in the least emissions, even when the carbon intensity of the grid varies substantially.”
The report also mentions that high carbon intensity grids (i.e. ones that burn coal) still see a significant amount of emissions from workplace EV charging.
A company that wants to reduce CO2 emissions should review its upstream emissions. If the electricity purchased from your utility provider is highly carbon-intensive, you may consider switching power suppliers or installing solar panels to increase the amount of clean energy used by your property.
Which sustainability credits can you get from EVs and EV charging equipment?
Probably the most well-known sustainability credits you can get from installing EV charging equipment at your business are the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) points.
With LEED, buildings can receive points for various activities that help reduce energy consumption and use environmentally-friendly practices.
Recycling rainwater, installing solar panels, and reusing building materials are all examples of activities that can qualify for LEED points. LEED v4.1 includes one credit for installing EV supply equipment (EVSE) at 5% or more of the parking spaces, or adding make-ready infrastructure at 10% or more of the spaces.
These points are then added together, and buildings can get a LEED certification based on their total amount of points. The certifications range from simply Certified (40-49 points) all the way up to Platinum (80+ points).
Carbon credits (or carbon offsets), another type of environmental credit for EV charging, are a type of permit that allows a company to emit a certain amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. They are part of a “cap and trade” program.
In a cap and trade program, the government sets a cap on the amount of harmful gases that a company is permitted to emit. These gases are then given a value in the form of carbon credits.
One carbon credit = one ton of CO2 or other similar greenhouse gases.
Companies are then able to sell any unused carbon credits they have. Similar to LEED points, companies can also earn carbon credits for certain actions.
One of those actions is installing EV charging equipment. For example, the Connecticut Green Bank is currently running a pilot program for EV charging carbon offset trading. According to the bank, an EV charging station generates an average of four carbon credits per year, depending on their electricity grid. This means a company that is earning carbon credits with its EV chargers can sell those credits to other companies that need them.
Setting a sustainability strategy will help you set goals, prioritize your spending, and allow you to engage with clients about your shared values. And EV charging equipment and electrifying your fleet are a great way to reduce your CO2 emissions. Ready to get started? Contact the Blink Sales Team to learn more about charging up your business.