2015 will be a big year for strategic implementation of sustainability measures in North American companies according to a new survey conducted by Ecova. The energy and sustainability management consulting firm surveyed more than 500 US sustainability professionals working in energy, sustainability, facility, and finance on behalf of North American companies about their 2015 sustainability outlook. The survey asked respondents to highlight sustainability measures implemented in 2014, the leading drivers in implementing energy and sustainability management, and plans for implementation in the coming year.

Overall, the survey found that cost remains the leading driver in implementing sustainability measures with 76 percent of respondents placing it as the top priority. After that, regulation, investor and stakeholder concerns, physical risk, and the market and consumers are the top drivers. Year-over-year, regulation has remained the second implementation driver with no measurable change despite 27 new laws and mandates approved in 2014 that govern energy and sustainability management. Reducing costs through strategic sustainability measures is the top driver for 2015, with approximately 55 percent of respondents indicating no-cost or low-cost efficiency efforts as the number one priority.

Companies are also placing more emphasis on waste and water reduction and higher numbers of employees are making business sustainability a larger part of their jobs. While implementing strategic energy benchmarking and sustainability management measures is continually challenging, sustainability is becoming a bigger business priority. Ecova predicts companies will continue to focus on efficiency and cost reduction in 2015.

Check out the full survey from Ecova, Inc.