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“FUEL” for thought: We all have Responsibilities.

I recently watched FUEL and thought:  Why have I not seen this before???  FUEL is a 2008 documentary on America’s dependence on foreign oil which explored a possible solution to the looming energy crisis.  I had three overwhelmingly strong and immediate responses from watching this film.

First, we have some extremely intelligent and passionate people in the United States as is evident in Director Joshua Tickle whose intimacy with the energy issue in Louisiana moved my heart.  Secondly, I was dumbfounded we have not moved as a nation towards a comprehensive alternative energy policy, an option which was clearly articulated in Tickle’s film.  Thirdly, I was truly inspired and you should be too, “we have choices, voices and real power.”

Where corporations come into play:  Corporate Social Responsibility.

An IM reader recently asked me if CSR (corporate social responsibility) can have any impact on energy policy.  It can on two levels, individual corporate energy policy and national energy policy.  On the first level a company’s internal CSR policies should include a section on energy consumption and the environment.  For example, Exelon Corporation addresses their energy policy in depth in their Sustainability Report. On the second level, individual CSR policies influence public policy which directly affects national energy policy.  Taking Exelon again as an example, they have an entire page devoted to where they stand on public policy issues and how they are trying to influence public policies relating to energy and the environment.

Where we come into play:  Our Responsibility.

As a student and proponent of Corporate Social Responsibility I put a lot of emphasis on what Corporation’s can and should do to protect society.  FUEL reminded me what I can do as an individual and what we can do together to bring about change. We can demand it from our local and state representatives as residents, from our government as citizens and from our corporations as stakeholders.  We can make choices every day about the products we buy, the mode of transportation we take and how active we are in politics.  Lastly, knowledge is power.  Here are some facts from FUEL to get you started.

Q: What percentage of the world’s population do Americans make up and how much CO2 do Americans produce?
A: 4.5% and almost 50% of the world’s automotive CO2

Q: How much of the world’s oil do Americans consume and how much of the world’s oil reserves does America have?
A: 25% and 2%

Q: How much solar panel installation would be necessary to generate 100% of America’s electricity needs?
A: All of America’s electricity requirements could be met by installing solar photo-voltaic panels on just 7% of existing urban areas.

Q: What would be the benefits of plug-in hybrid cars?
A: Reduction of petroleum use by 80%.

Image Credit:  Fuel Poster by beccaharrell via flickr under CC license.

Written by Emily DeMasi

Emily McKinin DeMasi is a 2011 MBA/ MA Public Policy candidate and Peace Corps Fellow at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. Her thesis work concerns Corporate Social Responsibility in the United States. She also works as a Research Fellow at Bridgeway Capital, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in downtown Pittsburgh. Emily has worked as an Associate in a Private Equity Placement Firm in NY and as a Water and Sanitation Volunteer in Ivory Coast, West Africa. She hopes to combine her business background with her passion for development and inspire others in the fields of Sustainability and CSR.


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