Top Managements Visible Commitment to EEM

Every change process is painful enough even if all the stakeholders are firmly on board. For a subject such as energy and environmental management, which does not immediately strike one as the highest priority, this is even more important. The first task is to make energy and environmental management important and to establish it as a topic for top management.

If the commitment of top management cannot be achieved during the project start up, the activity is destined to fail. In order to achieve top management support, suitable arguments and adequate presentation have to be prepared by internal or external key actors. The argument for EEM as a relevant and positive contribution to business performance has to combine pure economic considerations with additional benefits, focusing on the company's multi-dimensional aspects of competitiveness, such as cost reduction, environmental compliance, improved quality, 'green' image, etc.

Few people would be immediately enthusiastic about any proposed change. It is particularly so when change will bring an additional responsibility, like that for energy and environmental performance. In such cases, one is likely to encounter a 'tree-in-the-wind' effect, as illustrated in Figure 1.7. In this metaphor, the tree is a symbol for the organizational hierarchy. When the wind of change blows, the shaking will be strongest at the top, but as we go down to the bottom of the tree, the lower branches (lower levels of the organization) are calm, protected and unaffected by the big noise up at the top.

As we have said earlier, energy is used everywhere and by everyone in a company and every individual's behavior affects the environmental performance, so an EEMS project must involve everyone in order to give the best results. Consequently, all employees must be mobilized to assume adequate responsibility for energy and environmental performance based on their position within the organization. This can be achieved only if employees are convinced that EEMS is really the matter of high importance to the company.

That is another reason why top management's visible commitment to EEM is important. If there is no visible commitment at the top, it is highly unlikely that there will be any thought of change at the lower levels of the company's hierarchy.

Figure 1.7

A Tree in a 'Wind of Change'

Figure 1.7

A Tree in a 'Wind of Change'

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