Regional Energy 2050: A sustainability-oriented strategic backcasting methodology for local utilities
A turnaround in the way we convert and consume energy is the key to successful climate change mitigation. Taking a micro-economic perspective, in order to put the necessary changes into practice corporations in the energy sector need not only have a long-term vision of the developments necessary up to the year 2050. They also have to understand the impacts these developments will have on the firm's competitiveness in short- and medium-term. Does this cause a dilemma? At least this challenge is not addressed in classical strategic management literature. The book at hand shows that sustainable development is about to become a central element of strategic management and corporate decision-making. However, classical trend-based strategy approaches do not address the systemic challenges that arise from the need for sustainable development, especially major emission reductions in the energy sector appropriately. A sustainability-oriented business strategy has to be based on a different understanding of the corporate targets, the strategic decision-making process and the role of the firm within its natural and societal environment. The author shows how corporations can engage in such a target-oriented strategy discussion by using strategic backcasting as a tool to describe their long-term targets and derive necessary measures. These corporate “milestones” need to be prepared and pro-actively realised within a corridor that is formed by external “crossroad" decisions on the different levels of energy and climate policy. A case study clarifies the presented strategic backcasting approach for local utilities. It also highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the method.