May 31, 2016

A Smart Approach to Energy Efficiency in Europe

The European Union’s (EU) ambitious goals around energy efficiency have companies across the continent jumping into action to improve performance. For Blackstone’s Operations team, this mandate created an opportunity to educate and coordinate our energy savings efforts across our portfolio companies.

Last month, Blackstone hosted two summits focused on the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), the EU’s plan to reach a 20% reduction in energy consumption by 2020. Under the EED, EU member states are required to develop a national approach, creating benchmarks and implementing penalties that range from fines to imprisonment. This plan impacts numerous Blackstone companies across different funds, sectors and countries.

To help our portfolio companies better coordinate their approach to EED, particularly in the areas of audits and energy management initiatives via ISO 50001, we hosted company leaders from across Private Equity and Real Estate in London. The Operations team facilitated best practice presentations from leading Blackstone companies such as Gates, Catalent and Multi, as well as partners Schneider Electric and ERM.

Sustainability1

As Don Anderson, our Chief Sustainability Officer, explained, the conference emphasized our proven strategy: “EED has created a marketplace flooded with a new class of energy auditors, and our companies were reporting compliant yet useless audits.  We’ve developed Playbooks, documented resources that standardize our approach to operations, creating a simple, effective approach to reducing utility costs. When deployed, these resources fully support EED compliance and drive significant cost savings that justify an aggressive effort.”

These Playbooks outline adaptable, easy-to-use tools that create measurable, consistent improvements over time. Blackstone provides dashboards for monitoring KPIs and color-coded scorecards to allow leadership to verify implementation of good practices. The Operations team also provides hand-held tools such as infrared and ultrasonic meters that improve the ability of operators to identify and address issues in the field. Blackstone has achieved over 20% cost savings where these Playbooks are fully deployed at the portfolio level.

With a better understanding of the EED’s implications and our Playbook tools, leaders from our portfolio companies are equipped for a more coordinated approach to national benchmarks across the region. Our operations team will continue to use multi-company energy summits to address the opportunity to reduce costs and improve environmental performance.