Master students tackle decision-making barriers in energy transition
How can companies at the Port of Rotterdam better implement energy efficiency measures to their businesses? This was explored by six students in the MScBA Master in Management programme at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), as commissioned by entrepreneurship association Deltalinqs and the American Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands (AmCham). The students presented their research and advice at Deltalinqs on 5 June 2018 to an audience of energy industry experts and professionals resulting in positive feedback and a fruitful debate. The students involved in this project were Dominik Bernert, Rohan Gautam, Jorrit Molendijk, Margot Nelis, Ayush Shrivastava and Viraj Soni.
Europe’s energy transition towards renewable energy supplies prompts companies to incorporate more energy efficient strategies to their business trajectories. But embarking on this migration demands special attention to the companies’ internal and external decision-making influences that decide the direction of this shift. This was the focus of the students’ consultancy project for AmCham and Deltalinqs, to assess the barriers hindering the implementation of energy efficient measures and provide recommendations to overcome them. The project was part of the programme’s curriculum and spanned from January until June 2018.
For this project, the students interviewed 10 industrial companies that operate in the Port of Rotterdam of various industries to assess their perceived barriers in the decision-making process towards energy efficient measures. From their gathered data, the students identified patterns and classified the core problems.
“I’m impressed by the way in which the RSM students seemed to co-operate seamlessly, despite having different cultural and educational backgrounds,” says Albert Wiggers, partner at law firm Ploum Advocaten en Notarissen. “They really acted as a team, and we had the impression that each member had its own role and contributed to the end-result. We were also very pleased with the quality of the research as well as the fluent style of the report.”
What is holding them back?
The students found one thematic barrier that keeps companies from implementing energy efficiency measures are weak government proceedings in this area. The companies remarked that inconsistencies in government policies, lack of public infrastructure to support energy-efficient development, and the absence of incentives hinder companies headquartered outside the Netherlands to invest in these measures.
They also said that there is an uneven playing field of the CO2 Emission Trading System (ETS) on an industry and global scale. These concerns build another obstacle that is the lack of dominant strategic and financial business cases for energy efficient projects.
Breaking through barriers
“This consultancy project was an opportunity to work with real clients and experience what it’s like to be a consultant,” says British RSM student Rohan Gautam. “It was really enjoyable to present our results and hand over our final report to our clients as we had all put in a lot of hard work and produced a professional and informative report.”
The students suggested solutions that give AmCham and Deltalinqs key roles to play in assisting companies overcome their barriers. They are a compilation of public relations strategies, knowledge-sharing tactics, and policy requests. Through public relations, available benefits and subsidies in the Netherlands are not only highlighted but also made desirable for companies with foreign-based headquarters.
There is also a demand for increased knowledge sharing among companies, research institutions, and government offices. For example, the students suggested that Deltalinqs serves as independent ‘broker’ to facilitate sharing of best practices between companies. Also, AmCham and Deltalinqs could connect companies with universities to collaborate on research, projects, and events. And lastly, the focus to develop a smooth roadmap in policy, regulations, and infrastructure is a long-term investment for all parties committed to migrate towards renewable energy sources.
Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China. www.rsm.nl
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