Consulting Project: Swiss Energy Agency Project

Project Title: Challenges and Achievements in a company sponsored project at the Swiss Energy Agency (Energie-Agentur der Wirtschaft; EnAW)

Introduction to the project
This project was assigned to one of the consulting teams within the Diploma in Sustainable Business program by the Swiss Energy Agency, a collaboration platform between the Swiss government and Swiss companies. The EnAW promotes energy efficiency and the delimitation of CO2 emissions. Together with 2100 enterprises in all industries, sizes and regions, the agency formulates firm-specific goals and bundles these to a total objective: to combine profitability and commitment in favour of the climate. The EnAW has developed an Energy Management System (EMS), based on a target agreement, a definition of specific measures to reach the target, and a monitoring system assessing if the company is on track. The implementation of the measures is left up to the companies. The monitoring system is checked and approved by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy.

In 2012, in the midst of a changing policy landscape regarding CO2 and electricity, the EnAW stands to lose a large part of its customer base. An amended CO2 law, which takes effect in 2013, states that the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in Switzerland will be covered under a mandatory emission trading scheme and automatically exempted from the CO2 steering tax, thereby rendering EnAW’s service redundant to large emitters. All other users of fossil fuel will be subject to a CO2 steering tax. Beyond 2012, the Federal Office of Energy is planning to allow energy-intensive companies that have a target agreement (with EnAW) to get an exemption from the KEV tax (kostendeckende Einspeisevergütung) that is meant to subsidize renewable energy production. With this new plan, EnAW could play an important role. However, these plans have not yet been discussed in parliament.

The project assignment in brief
The consulting team, including 4 participants in the Diploma in Sustainable Business program, was asked to do qualitative research, interviewing stakeholders in the field and writing empirical case studies. The goal was to compare the differences in decision making and behavior between energy intensive and non-energy intensive companies, and between EnAW clients and non-clients. The project period lasted 8 months, from September 2011 to May 2012.

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