How to REV Up Your Clean Energy Engine
REVving Up at VERGE
I recently attended my first GreenBiz VERGE conference. With much anticipation, I looked forward to meeting more of my tribe – those professionals committed to championing businesses to assess and implement plans to use natural resources more efficiently and prevent further damage from climate change.
I am happy to say my expectation was fulfilled. I managed to see Elliot Hoffman again and meet his son, Miles. Elliot started REV, which is dedicated to supporting small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in their efforts to accelerate positive business impacts by changing their behavior and using best sustainability practices.
What is REV?
Elliot, Miles and the team at REV are intent on moving thousands of SMEs towards clean energy to shift their mindset. In addition, REV aims to help them see the value in utilizing natural resources and how it’s a smart business strategy. According to REV, “the average projected recurring annual savings per organization is over $280,000.”
REV’s Sustainability Circles, which Elliot initiated in 2011, support business professionals for six months, offering SMEs tools and resources that have helped them save money and quicken their efficient use of resources. REV has helped over 130 SMEs. REV also says its Sustainability Circle program brings together regional communities of SMEs, municipalities, divisions of large companies and institutions for the six-month, peer-learning experience that helps them embed sustainability practices into their organizations.
History of REV
With a clear-minded sense of purpose on the practical implications for SMEs, Elliot speaks from experience. He and his wife, Gail Horvath, started Just Desserts in 1974 and sold it in 2001. During that time he was part of a new movement that brought the value of socially responsible business to the foreground. The success of Just Desserts was in good company with Ben & Jerry’s, Stonyfield Farm and Seventh Generation, to name a few. And it offered proof that social responsibility and sustainability make good business sense.
The Inner Workings of REV’s Sustainability Circle
The Sustainability Circle is similar to a summer camp for businesses. As a peer community model, up to 10 local businesses are brought together to develop their own customized sustainability action plans. Over the course of six months and meeting one full day per month,the benefits are inspired and results- oriented. The most recent impact from the last eight circles of 75-80 companies established on average projected financial savings of $320,000 per year per company. The goals by company include reduced use of:
- Water by 2.2 million gallons per year,
- Kilowatts by of 1.5 million per year, and
- Greenhouse gases by 1,093 tons per year.
As a powerful tool for engaging business people, Elliot and his team set a five-year goal of seeing an SME community where thoughtful practices of using natural resources are the norm. Elliot says he likes to think that it will be as natural as fish “swimming in water.” Elliot aims to launch 1,200 Circles from 2015 to 2020 and have 12,000 companies and organizations go through them during that same time period.
An SME That ‘Walks the Talk’
Hunter Industries is one of the SMEs that successfully completed its sustainability action plan with REV. It is a family-owned business that grew from one building into a nine-building campus with six sister offices on three continents.
“The real highlight was the engagement we were able to create at Hunter with a broader involvement through the company…. The level of engagement will increase the pace of our progress,” Hunter’s Chair of the Board Ann Hunter-Wellborn said in a statement. Given utility-backed financing up to 70-75% and REV providing details of what other companies achieved, Hunter implemented its sustainability action planning with confidence. Its results included:
- about$140,000+ annual cost savings within four years (over $36,000 per year within six months)
- the Action Plan provided a vehicle to present findings to the company’s board
- a framework benefiting existing long-term planning efforts and adding a necessary short-term value component and
- significantly increased engagement and broader involvement through the company.
VERGE Revved Me Up
I am glad for having invested the time and resources to attend VERGE. It is always inspiring to meet and get to know passionate advocates and leaders for our natural resources at the intersection of business and climate solutions. It is also gratifying to have REV addressing the SME segment of our business community so they canefficiently use resources and be profitable.
Elliot Hoffman is one of those fine doers who I am sure will realize his vision to scale REV state-to-state and ensure its impact across the United States and even the world.
If you are an SME and are interested in learning more about how to build a sustainability program to save resources, money and time, check out “Develop & Write Your Climate Action Plan” in the Engage Resources section of our website.