This paper performs case studies on a selection of firms in the automobile and clothing and textiles sectors in South Africa. The aim is to understand what drives and enables successful energy efficiency strategies in these sectors and extend the lessons to other developing countries. At the same time it also seeks to identify factors that hinder progress in this area. The focus is on internal commercial influences within firms and their supply chains in order to unpack the role of value chain drivers and governance structures in pursuing energy efficient production processes. In addition it also examines the impact of South Africa"s energy policies in order to better define the role of developing country governments in initiating and supporting industrial energy efficiency improvements and creating a business environment conducive to the private pursuit of energy efficiency.