Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Project Social: Sustainability Pays for Itself

My Project Social partner Dave Ryan and I were catching up on our various sustainability projects and he suggested I write a short post about how Germany supports renewable energy.

Americans tend to distrust new legislation, and not without reason. But check out what intelligent legislation in action can do:

Thanks to the adoption of feed in tariff legislation in Germany, anyone can become an energy provider.

For example, if you install solar panels on your house the energy produced feeds into the grid and the energy provider pays you for it at a fixed rate.

You can kiss your energy bill good bye and probably even recoup enough cash back each month to repay the loan you took out to pay for the solar panels. Best of all, once you’ve paid off the loan your investment turns into an annuity.

That’s the beauty of sustainability: It pays for itself.

As a result of sustainable legislation, Germany is already enjoying the benefits of renewable energy, such as less dependence on foreign oil, fewer power plants, more choices for energy consumers, a thriving domestic industry and leading the charge on green technology.

Increasingly, being competitive will mean being sustainable. For example, did you know:
  • According to Deloitte: 50% of shareholder proposals in 2006 were sustainability related;1
  • In 2010, a record number of investors filed shareholder resolutions related to climate and energy;2
  • According to E&Y recruiting top talent is more difficult for organizations that do not communicate their sustainability agenda.3

Make no mistake: The world as we know it is changing, moving to decentralized computing, sourcing, production and knowledge networks in order to increase capacity and lower costs. Energy production will necessarily follow, which will mean a cognitive shift in how we think, behave and conduct business.

If you’d like to get a glimpse of a world where distributed power production replaces big, ugly, expensive power plants, check out this preview of The 4th Revolution

And don't miss Dave's latest post on making green pay!

1 Deliotte, “Sustainability: Balancing Opportunity & Risk in the Consumer Products Industry” (2007)
2 Ceres, “Investors Achieve Record Results On Climate Change”, July 7, 2010 - available here
3 Ernst & Young, “Ready Or Not, Here Comes Sustainability” (2009).


  1. You should warn us before making thoughtful, logical comments about environmental legislation. Us folks in the US of A aren't accustomed these days to such reasoned discourse.

  2. Sorry, my bad. I'll rant about big government and new taxes next time. ;-)


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