Sustainability reports are being issued by large chemical companies. For example, most, if not all, of the 50 companies listed on the Chemical & Engineering News 2012 “Global Top 50" issue sustainability reports. (Click here to view the “Global Top 50” list. PDF file.) These reports offer lots of data, based on company measurements, about important non-financial attributes of the companies. For example, often such measurements as: water usage; solid waste generation rates; worker injury rates; air emissions; employee diversity; and may others, are reported on. It seems to me that much of this data offers opportunities for benchmarking one own company’s performance against other companies’ performances. Such benchmarking comparisons can be useful for setting goals and achieving improvements.
One measurement that is often reported on is the total energy a company uses for a year. I found from the 2012 sustainability reports of 16 chemical companies on the C&EN Top 50 list data on their total energy use. I only selected companies on the list that received 100% of their sales from chemical sales, in order to better compare companies more alike in their activities. I found a wide variety of energy use: from 19 petajoules per year to 593 petajoules per year. Then, I thought about how I could use this energy data for useful benchmarking. I came up with the idea of determining how many revenue dollars are generated by a company per one gigajoule of energy.
Using the energy data I found, in the reports, and the 2012 sales for the chemical companies, found on the “Top 50” list, I determined the revenue dollars to gigajoule ratios. What I found was a range of revenue dollars per gigajoule from $374 per gigajoule to $49 per gigajoule. The average was $154 per gigajoule with a standard deviation of $96 per gigajoule.
These results might be useful for a company to compare their results to. A low sales generation per energy use, compared to other companies, might suggest not only a need but a potential to improve energy use efficiencies.
The revenues to energy use ratios described above are one example of how data found in sustainability reports might be used for benchmarking benefits. Certainly other data in these reports can be used in useful benchmarking. I would be happy to explore with you these opportunities.