Friday, February 6, 2009

Deloitte Debate: Does the Downturn Put Energy Efficiency on the Back Burner?

What: Energy Efficiency: Crisis or Catalyst? Does the Downturn Put
Energy Efficiency on the Back Burner, or Create a Catalyst for

Who: David Fornari, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP

When: Available immediately


Details: In the face of a severe economic crisis, many companies could
find themselves putting energy on the back burner. But is that
really the right move?

"Environmental concerns and skyrocketing oil prices showed
companies in every industry just how big an impact energy can
have on their businesses," said David Fornari, leader of
Deloitte's Energy & Resources group. "Executive attention has
shifted in recent months, thanks to sharp declines in energy
prices and increasing problems with the overall economy.
However, the longer-term importance of energy efficiency
remains unchanged."

Fornari noted that few expect the cost of oil and other forms
of energy to stay at their current depressed levels forever.
Some companies view rising energy costs as an unavoidable cost
of doing business. He said that it does not have to be that
way. Forward-thinking organizations recognize that energy is
a strategic input that can - and should - be actively managed
and controlled. Fornari mentioned the following benefits:

  • Cost savings from reduced energy usage - in addition to the immediate benefits, energy efficiency can provide a competitive advantage if it reduces a company's cost structure and energy is positioned as a strategic business input.
  • Strategic positioning - As the Obama administration begins to make its mark on economic policy, market changes, such as carbon footprint regulations and government incentives for alternative energy and conservation, will likely recast the rules.
  • Long-term cost control - Improved energy efficiency can also help keep future energy prices in check by enabling energy providers to meet market demand without having to spend a lot of money building new plants.

Mark Gardner, a principal with Deloitte Consulting and Automotive and Industrial Products leader and Daryl Jackson, a director with Deloitte Consulting and a Deloitte Federal Services practitioner, also mentioned the following sector views, respectively:

  • Automotive industry -- Energy efficiency and sustainability related to new vehicle technologies is a critical component of the industry's remaking.
  • Public Sector -- Even organizations with large fleets of alternative-fuel vehicles cannot remove the need for caution based on their sheer size. Like auto manufacturers, an organization or agency could face steep risks if it places too large of a bet on the wrong emerging technology.

To view Fornari's, Gardner's and Jackson's points and counterpoints around these energy efficiency issues, please go to This topic is one in a series of Deloitte Debates that examine today's pressing business issues from multiple perspectives. New debate topics are added weekly.

To speak with Fornari, Gardner and Jackson about these issues, please contact John La Place at +1 212-492-4267, or

About Deloitte

As used in this document, "Deloitte" means Deloitte Consulting LLP and Deloitte Services LP, separate subsidiaries of Deloitte LLP. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries.

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