Most of the policy issues presented to this point have focused exclusively on public policy. We've been talking a lot about what governmental bodies can do to develop policy. Most of what we think of related to environmental and energy policies is public. Clean water, clean air, safe food - these are all topics on which public policies are developed for the greater public good.
Environmental policies (and energy policy in particular), however, also spill over into the private sector. Institutions, organizations, and privately held companies all establish their own internal policies related to environmental stewardship and energy use, and this trend is only gaining in popularity as environmental awareness and emphasis on sustainability work their way up the priority lists of legislators, shareholders, and consumers.
Smart energy policy is smart business policy. Anything an organization can do to cut back on energy consumption will save it money in utility costs. So, environmental benefits aside, there are tangible cost-saving reasons to encourage conservation and increase efficiency.
Let's take a look at some examples of policy planning at the corporate level. As you go through the next page's material, be thinking about the greater implications of these policies on society. Are they reducing environmental pollution? Consumption? Greenhouse gas emissions? What message and ethic does this policy send to employees, shareholders, and customers? If this corporation produces a good, how does its energy policy align with the type of good it provides?
After we explore corporate energy policy broadly, we're going to take a look at a specific case study - Penn State! So, continue with the lesson to learn more about what private companies and your own university are doing (and be thinking about what they aren't doing as well).