The challenge of development of renewable sources of energy that are sustainable for consumption today and for the future generations is a matter of global concern and consequence today. The case study assesses the response of a global energy company to this challenge; a company whose core business has been the development of mainly fossil fuel based energy sources that are not considered renewable (Chevron Corporation Newsletter, 2009). The response in this case being critical in the future survival of the company since their current business structure would generally be considered unviable in a ‘green energy’ future. The company in this case is Chevron.
Chevron is a global leader in integrated energy. The company is headquartered at San Ramon California and has a business presence in more than 100 countries. It is heavily engaged in all aspects within the crude oil and natural gas sectors. It specializes with exploration, production and marketing of products associated with the two sectors. The company is also investing in renewable energy alternatives such as geothermal, wind and hydrogen fuels. Advanced technologies are also in their investment portfolio.
The situational analysis reveals that the problem is the need to develop alternative green energy resources that are renewable with minimal adverse effects to the environment and the company itself. The problem exists since we are dependent on fossil fuels today as the main energy source, a source that has finite reserves and hence will run out one day (Chevron Corporation Newsletter, 2009). Worse still, this source is polluting the planet hence making it unsustainable. Steps taken to identify the problem involve scientific research on the effects of fossil fuels on the environment. Studies on available reserves of the same also help in identifying the problem. A SWOT (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis sheds light on the eventual steps the company took to mitigate the problem.
Strengths the company looked to was their solid financial position, which would bankroll new initiatives as well as providing collateral for credit facilities. A rich human resource base was also a strength that the company looked to in the view to drive innovation and their extensive presence globally meant that new initiatives had fertile ground for trial. Weaknesses present included heavy reliance on the very fossil fuels that they were trying to diversify from as well as the prohibitive timescale within which they had to develop alternative fuel sources. Opportunities available to the company included innovative research and development of renewable sources already being done by other parties as well as a competitive vulnerability held by their competitors in terms of insufficient capital and human resource. Threats posed to the company included political ramifications to their actions since most countries in which they have a presence earn significant revenues from the trade of fossil fuels. Unpredictable economic downturns were also a threat posed.
The solution to the prevailing problem rested lied within their strengths. The company considered the immense human resource available to it and made a decision to invest significantly in this group. Training of personnel on renewable energy and investing in research and development of the same while gradually diminishing the percentage of income earned from the fossil fuel business (US Fed News Service, 2007).
Results of their approach show that they chose the right response since the company is gradually reducing its reliance on fossil fuels as well as emerging as a new global leader in efficiency of energy use thanks to the generous research and development pledged.
US Fed News Service. (2007). Chevron, national renewable energy laboratory to collaborate on research to produce transportation fuels using algae. Retrieved November 26, 2009, from http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-1375297421.html
Chevron Corporation Newsletter (2009). Emerging Energy. Retrieved November 26, 2009, from http://www.chevron.com/globalissues/emergingenergy