Middle East's industry giants should 'go green' to combat rising energy costs

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Following the hike in energy costs due to subsidy reforms in many Middle East countries, experts from PA Consulting Group recommend investment in low emission technology to help industry giants make huge savings and considerably reduce their carbon footprint.

Apart from the financial benefits, green technologies can offer many major business opportunities, as well as help to position organizations as more socially responsible and environmentally friendly.

"The increasing cost of energy is driving up the base cost of manufacturers significantly, and the issue around subsidy reforms from governments in the Middle East has meant that utility prices are increasing for many organizations," Philip Rice, energy and utilities expert at PA Consulting Group's regional headquarters in Abu Dhabi, told Gulf News Journal. "We have worked with companies in the region that have invested in low emission technologies and implemented new behaviors, which have reduced their consumption, and, therefore, reduced their costs."

The company has recently worked with a large aerospace and defense company to reduce its cost of energy consumption, identifying its reduction potentials of 200,000 tons of CO2 emissions, and optimized its investment of more than $501.3 million across 25 sites in several countries.

"Many organizations are already embracing this technology, but we believe there is a huge opportunity for more to do the same," Rice said.

Rice said big companies in the Middle East such as the dairy company Almarai can make huge savings through investment in low emission technologies despite the rise in energy costs.

"With Almarai recently stating that their costs will increase by 500 million riyals this year as a result of the government subsidy reforms, we anticipate more businesses in this region will embrace low emission technology to help recover those costs," Rice said.

He said that adopting environmentally friendly principles helps not only the bottom line, but also can give companies a more competitive advantage.

A recent study involving 500 marketing experts "indicated that going green increases trust in the brand positions of companies as innovative and future-orientated, and enables them to easily differentiate themselves in a positive way against their competitors," Rice said. 

To help a company in this eco-friendly and economical drive, PA Consulting Group develops a customized energy efficiency roadmap, which has the potential to save the business millions of dollars.

"Solar and photovoltaic systems, combined heat and power plants, wind power and heat recovery can all reduce an organization's carbon footprint significantly," Rice said. "It's important to note, however, that there is no single solution, which is why the emphasis on customized suggestions is important."

There are some fundamental aspects that companies should consider to succeed in this sustainable development drive that also result in huge savings.

"To succeed in ‘going green,' a company must understand many local factors such as sunshine hours, wind intensity and the availability of subsidies from the government," Rice said. "Organizations need to decide who has accountability for energy efficiency and how to make financial savings. Once that has been identified, it is recommended that they reach out to experts who have the skills to analyze and model potential changes so that they start to see reductions in energy consumption."

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