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WRI at Clean Energy Ministerial 9 and Energy Efficiency Global Forum 2018

Two annual landmark energy events, Clean Energy Ministerial 9 and the Energy Efficiency Global Forum, will take place in Copenhagen this year as part of Nordic Clean Energy Week.

Join the conversation: #CEM9, #EEGlobal

The Clean Energy Ministerial gathers energy ministers and other delegates from its 24 member countries and the European Union to leverage high-level political will and private sector leadership to drive ambitious, real-world clean energy policies and actions.

The Energy Efficiency Global Forum draws hundreds of energy efficiency influencers for two days of discussion aimed at driving actionable plans for the next generation of energy efficiency.

WRI looks forward to attending and engaging in these high-level energy forums. Our staff will participate in the following events: 


Spurring a Building Efficiency Movement: Connecting Global Platforms to Create Change

Intensive Learning Session

May 21, 2018 | 13:00 – 16:00
UN City

Building efficiency is one of the most effective near-term opportunities for achieving national climate and energy goals. This Intensive Learning Session will focus on how the efficiency community can make a more concerted effort to create a political space for international, national and local leaders to champion building efficiency and meet their own goals, while also contributing to the SDGs. Please contact Eric Mackres ( for more information about this invitation-only event.

Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency – Overpromised or Undervalued?

Executive Dialogue Session

May 22, 2018 | 11:15 – 12:30
Odd Fellow Palace

Energy efficiency is not only known for reducing costs, but creates all kinds of “multiple benefits.” While these benefits are often claimed to be visible in society, they hardly ever make it onto the balance sheet. This session will ignite discussion around whether there is hard evidence that energy efficiency creates benefits outside the immediate energy system, and will explore ways to measure and value these benefits. Jennifer Layke and other speakers will present scientific insights, as well as business approaches to valorize the benefits of energy efficiency.


Clean Energy Investment Forum

Side Event

May 22, 2018 | 9:30 – 18:00
Confederation of Danish Industry

Current levels of investment in clean energy fall well below the level needed to deliver on the Paris Agreement. This Forum will kickstart the launch of the new CEM initiative to address clean energy investment and finance, by convening high-level decision-makers and professionals with the aim to strengthen public-private collaborations. This event will be a unique opportunity to network with the investor community, development banks, financial institutions, developers and industry and expert organizations.

Keynote: Innovative Options for Decarbonisation of Industry & End-Use Sectors

May 24, 2018 | 10:45 – 11:30
Eigtveds Pakhus Conference Venue

Andrew Steer will give a keynote speech to open the third plenary bloc of the CEM’s ministerial meetings, centered around industry decarbonization, and touching on topics from digitalization, smart grids, electric vehicles, building efficiency and carbon storage.

Delivering Sustainable Cooling in a Warming World

Panel Discussion Side Event

May 24, 2018 | 11:10-11:50
Room 7, Danish Architecture Center

As global incomes rise and populations grow in hotter regions, energy used for space cooling is growing faster than any other end use in buildings, more than tripling between 1990 and 2016. Without firm policies and action, future global cooling demand growth will come at great costs – economically, socially and environmentally. This panel discussion, moderated by Jennifer Layke, will highlight the importance of sustainable cooling, as well as new actions and commitments to drive equitable access to cooling benefits globally.

Corporate Sourcing of Renewable Energy

Side Event

May 24, 2018 | 14:45 – 16:00
Room 1, Danish Architecture Center

Gathering policymakers, suppliers and leading corporate buyers of renewable energy, this event will invite interactive dialogue on opportunities and barriers for corporate clean energy sourcing. By sharing experiences and insights, attendees will discuss best implementation practices for clean energy purchasing and policy recommendations to be put forward to policymakers and corporate leaders in order to incentivize the scale-up of corporate sourcing of renewables.

WRI Representatives

Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute
Jennifer Layke, Global Director, Energy Program, World Resources Institute



Spurring a Global Building Efficiency Movement

Jennifer Layke, Global Director, Energy Program, World Resources Institute

Laura Van Wie McGrory, VP of Strategic Initiatives, Alliance to Save Energy

Clay Nesler, VP of Global Sustainability and Industry Initiatives, Johnson Controls

The past decade has seen a growing focus on global platforms seeking to move the needle on building efficiency through subnational action, national action and international partnerships. Despite the efforts of these global platforms and partnerships to date, the lack of a high-profile global political dialogue on building efficiency has stalled political backing at the national and international level. Building efficiency is one of the most effective near-term opportunities for achieving national and international climate and energy goals and the time has never been better – or more critical – for spurring a global building efficiency movement.

World Resources Institute and the Alliance to Save Energy convened more than 40 global government, industry and NGO building efficiency leaders in May 2018, at the EE Global Forum in Copenhagen, to kick off a discussion on how best to create an effective global building efficiency movement. The roundtable discussed measures of success, the attributes of successful movements, ways to link national-subnational action to create a strong political agenda, and opportunities to leverage the capabilities and relationships of existing global platforms and partnerships. Building on the conclusions from this discussion, which are outlined below, the partners are planning a follow-up discussion in September.

Measures of Success

To start the discussion, each participant was asked to define one measure of success – years from now – for a building efficiency movement. The participants’ responses covered the entire range of building efficiency benefits including reduced energy use, improved health and wellness, increased productivity, increased real estate values, long-term sustainability, greater resilience and de-carbonization. Other measures of success focused on actions, including increased building audits and retrofits, net zero new construction, life-cycle design optimization, availability of financing, low income programs, student education, and implementation of building codes and equipment standards. Finally, several participants suggested indicators linked to people, including improved public understanding of the link between energy efficiency and climate change, continuous engagement by decision makers, and having energy efficiency be as high-profile in the public mind as renewables and as cool as a Tesla.

Successful Movements

A recent Harvard Business Review article defined the attributes of a successful movement, including strong storytelling, creating exhibits to support social sharing, building political momentum, and coupling big issues with individual actions. In a successful movement, individuals know what they can do to achieve collective action while feeling connected to a larger agenda. Campaigns – a series of activities designed to produce a particular result -- are not the same as movements; but movements can have multiple campaigns.

The participants of the roundtable discussed several examples of successful global movements. One is the elimination of lead in gasoline. The keys to this movement’s success included compelling messages and effective messengers, through the advocacy community that was pushing for stronger policies. The messaging was simple: Banning lead in gasoline is good for the health of both consumers (especially children) and the economy. The target audience was national and sub-national governments, particularly the U.S. state of California, and specific campaigns were tailored to specific audiences through political power mapping. Once the political will was built, the activities moved to technical assistance and sharing of best practices.

Another success story is the WWF Earth Hour, when millions of people around the world switch off their lights for one hour to show support for climate change mitigation. The campaign, which started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, is attractive in that it is simple and involves people directly. It also is universal and persistent because it happens on the same date everywhere in the world, and symbolic since the collective actions can be seen across the globe from space. This and other bottom-up campaigns – such as the Delhi suburb’s experiment that led to a national car-free movement in India – can be viewed as “sparks” that inspire a movement.

Research from Stanford University suggests that there are five conditions required for successful collective action: a common agenda, shared measurement systems, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication and backbone support organizations. Based on these criteria, the roundtable participants identified missing elements that may have kept recent efforts in the energy efficient buildings realm from becoming successful movements. For example, the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GABC) is focused on collective action but is missing an inspiring message and stories. Efforts to promote green schools, starting in 2006, generated dialogues with legislators and advocacy groups, but the various activities were not effectively organized or mutually reinforcing. While one organization can start a movement, it requires the coordinated and collective action of multiple platforms and partners to be successful.

Creating a Strong Political Agenda

The roundtable participants agreed that messaging is a critical aspect of creating a strong political agenda to support a movement; in particular, there was much discussion of the need to promote building efficiency as a means to achieve a range of benefits, rather than as an end in itself. The Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program is a good example of a philanthropic-led campaign with a clear social objective in which cooling and refrigeration efficiency are being harnessed to increase comfort, improve health, and reduce food waste.

The introduction of Tokyo’s energy conservation policies after the Fukushima disaster is an example of using energy efficiency as a means to address energy supply issues, and also illustrates the importance of timing. In normal times it can be difficult to get government leaders and the public interested in energy efficiency measures – for example, building energy codes -- since they do not have an obvious personal connection. Momentum can increase quickly when a clear connection is made to livelihoods or safety; in Mexico City after the 2017 earthquake, for instance, policymakers and the public were much more motivated to adopt new building codes due to the code’s additional safety benefits. The growing emphasis by national governments on improving their energy productivity – thus decoupling GDP growth from energy consumption – provides another good opportunity to focus on the economic benefits of energy efficiency in order to promote efficiency measures and investments.

To influence government decision makers, we thus need to provide them with access to information about the whole range of benefits of energy efficiency; they also need access to technology, know-how and finance. Developing this capacity requires working with governments and foundations to identify funding. With the energy efficiency community full of architects and engineers, the field of behavioral and nudge economics could be very effective at the governmental level. Success will be driven by bottom-up efforts which respond to current events and have an attractive visual component. The documentary “Blue Planet” helped spark a movement to clean the oceans of plastic litter, in part, because of its striking aesthetic.

We also need to speak the language of those we are addressing. For elected officials, this means relating energy efficiency to cost savings, job creation and other constituent concerns. For business executives, promotion efforts should focus on the potential for increasing profits. One complexity with messaging is that energy efficiency has a different connotation in developing countries where energy access and poverty issues dominate. To be relevant, the language needs to be tailored for different regions and social demographics.

Next Steps

Given the high level of engagement and enthusiasm for creating a building efficiency movement, the Alliance to Save Energy and WRI will host a follow-up roundtable at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco this September. The roundtable will focus on three critical issues discussed in Copenhagen: 1) The coordination of activities across organizations, 2) the development of specific campaigns for target audiences, and 3) implementing effective communications strategies built on common messaging and appropriate messengers. We look forward to working together with the energy efficiency community to spur an effective building efficiency movement around the world.

Please contact Laura Van Wie McGrory at the Alliance to Save Energy if you are interested in attending the roundtable.

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