Better Business Profile: Enbridge’s Approach to Energy Efficiency

Written by Sarah Naiman.

As part of CBSR's "Do Business Like a Canadian" campaign, they interviewed Enbridge, a Canadian company who has become a leader in today's global energy industry. Linda Coady, Enbridge's Chief Sustainability Officer, moderated last year's Executive Roundtable. Leor Rotchild, Executive Director of CBSR, will be hosting this year's Executive Roundtable.


"There is a pressing need for the big transformative ideas that can dramatically move the dial and, at the same time, the more nimble ones that enable everyday change in the right direction.”

Linda Coady - Chief Sustainability Officer, Enbridge Inc. (at the 2017 Executive Roundtable)

At Enbridge, moving toward a low-carbon energy future is about more than just growing the company’s already sizeable investments in renewable energy and electrical transmission. It also means considering the big picture on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction across some of North America’s largest transportation and distribution systems for oil and natural gas. In 2016 Enbridge adopted a new climate policy that mandates all of its different business units to develop and implement multi-year plans and goals for carbon reduction and energy efficiency.

Setting Goals

Integrating the potential risks and opportunities from current and emerging carbon pricing policies, building codes and efficiency mandates, among other inputs from both Canada and the US, takes significant time and attention. For example, Enbridge’s natural gas utilities – Enbridge Gas Distribution and Union Gas – are involved in demand side management programs in which they must work within their respective regulatory frameworks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

So how does an enterprise transition to a lower carbon future, and develop climate goals and strategies?

Working Together

Enbridge put together a sustainability team that works closely with each of the company’s business units to develop their carbon and energy performance plans. Driven by the objective to reduce Enbridge’s carbon footprint and improve the company’s energy efficiency, the sustainability team is collaborating with business units to develop plans and goals specific to their current and proposed operations and facilities, focusing on the unique circumstances of each individual business unit.

Advice for Other Companies

The sustainability team shared some advice for other companies who are looking to undertake their own company-wide energy efficiency targets.

  1. Gain executive leadership support. It is essential that top-level leaders are on board with setting realistic goals. Some business units may need capital to adjust their regular programs or integrate new processes to achieve their goals, and the company needs to be in a position where senior executives support these efforts.
  1. Elect a champion. Each of Enbridge’s business units has a “champion” for goal-setting efforts.  This gives the business units accountability for their successes, and a representative from the business unit instead of executive leadership helps to motivate the team.
  2. Facilitate collaboration and ownership. Allowing the business units to set their own goals and objectives using a bottom-up approach – instead of imposing them from the top-down – encourages teams to work together and take true ownership of their work. This creates high levels of buy-in from the members of these teams. Makkinga, Suta and Talwar are instrumental in this initiative through their coaching and consultation and by providing Enbridge’s business units with new tools to evaluate costs and benefits of different approaches to carbon reduction and energy efficiency.

Enbridge’s purpose is to provide North Americans with the energy they want and need. The company believes that its commitment to emissions reduction and supporting the transition to a lower carbon future provides a unique opportunity to remain competitive and adaptable as the company responds to changing consumer and societal expectations.

Watch Leor Rotchild's Walrus Talk: Do Business Like a Canadian
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