ICG Commerce Acquires Neuwing Energy Ventures — Unlocking the Many Sides of Green

Earlier today, ICG Commerce announced it had acquired Neuwing Energy Ventures, a boutique yet highly focused services and intellectual property-rich firm with expertise in helping large organizations maximize potential energy cost savings through creative, environmental approaches. While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Spend Matters believes the most important impact in terms of BPO and sourcing services will be to enable ICG Commerce to immediately up-sell its current and perspective client roster with a differentiated set of services that can both drive cost savings and help organizations become more environmentally friendly through reducing their energy footprint. In the press release, ICG Commerce suggests that "Neuwing brings deep expertise in energy and renewable energy projects to help companies actively manage their energy usage and take advantage of grants, rebates and incentives that provide hard dollar savings...the acquisition also adds an active energy management capability focused on reducing energy spend through ongoing monitoring and evaluation of electricity, water, and gas consumption."

Last week, I talked to ICG Commerce and Neuwing about the opportunities presented by pursuing green energy strategies. Even though I'm a bit of a skeptic when it comes to non-cost driven CSR initiatives, I was quickly won over by the approaches presented, given the hard dollar savings impact many of these programs can have. Moreover, even though we're not fans of corporate welfare at Spend Matters, the credits and incentives that states and the Federal government are offering in the US alone towards green energy investments, which Neuwing can help identify and enable companies to take advantage of to push spending on new, energy reducing capital projects over the approval edge, have some of the best returns possible for new job creation. But Neuwing does more than just help its clients pursue the some $7.5 billion in 2011 credits that are currently up for grabs (a material portion of which will go unclaimed) and save money in the process.

They're also involved in a range of active energy management projects for clients that can help reduce energy consumption, driving material savings often within a relatively short (or instant) investment window. For example, replacing outdated equipment that does not take advantage in the latest in energy efficiency might have a return within 12 months in certain cases, depending on energy requirements. As a final part of its value proposition, Neuwing works with users to build visibility into sustainability and energy cost drivers (and savings levers) as part of the buying decision process, elements which map nicely into some of the capital equipment and related verticals where ICG maintains active sourcing, contracting and category management practices.

Later this week, we'll continue to analyze this small acquisition and what it means for the market. We'll take two angles in this investigation: what the transaction means for the procurement BPO and services markets in general (and how others will likely respond in building their own capabilities in certain cases) and also the types of opportunities that are on the table for green energy savings that procurement can (and should) be driving. Stay tuned, as Spend Matters turns green from good energy practice. Green as in savings, that is.

Jason Busch

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