Today’s companies face substantial pressure from stakeholders—both internal and external—to monitor and report on a variety of environmental metrics. The benefits to the company are clear, as research shows that successfully managing a company’s environmental footprint can strengthen a firm’s financial performance[i], help them maintain that performance over the long term[ii], improve the company’s image,[iii] and identify and mitigate potential risks to operations.[iv]
A company’s corporate citizenship impact extends well beyond the four walls of the corporate headquarters. A significant amount of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) impact occurs within supply chains, whether it is greenhouse gas emissions, vendor performance, labor conditions within a supplier’s factory, or the sourcing of materials.
Last month, the leaders of seven of the world’s largest economies came together for the G7 summit, and committed to ending reliance on fossil fuels by 2100. In concert with that goal, they pledged to reduce carbon emissions 40-70 percent below 2010 levels by 2050. While the practical details of how these reductions are to be achieved have yet to be outlined, the commitment is a strong signal of how climate change has risen to the forefront of the global environmental and geopolitical discussions. Now, according to Sir David King, the top climate change diplomat in the United Kingdom, we can expect a climate deal to be reached during November’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
In January, policy makers, government agencies, and companies took advantage of the New Year spirit by recommitting to goals, setting targets, and measuring results in the environmental arena. Earlier this month, the Obama administration built on 2014’s advances in climate change policy—an effort the President reaffirmed during his 2015 State of the Union address— with a plan to limit methane emissions and the announcement of a federal “model rule” for states that don’t file carbon-cutting plans. In Canada, Ontario got closer to revealing its plan for carbon-pricing, and plans to unveil its strategy later this year.
Today, April 22nd, marks the 44th annual Earth Day, a worldwide celebration of commitment to the protection of the environment. According to National Geographic more than 1 billion people around the world will celebrate earth day in more than 190 countries. This annual day of action allows people of all walks of life, from individuals to major corporations, to demonstrate their commitment to the protection of the Earth. Below are three ways companies are participating in Earth Day:
June 5, is World Environment Day, an annual event aimed at increasing worldwide awareness of positive environmental action. This year’s theme focuses on creating awareness of food waste and encourages people to Think-Eat-Save. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, every year 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted. This is equivalent to the amount of food produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has issued a call to action by people from around the globe to do something that will positively affect the environment, whether at home or in the office. World Environment Day is all about working together to take action in support of the Earth, and everyone can make a difference. If you are wondering how you can contribute to this effort here are 10 things you can do today to be a change agent for tomorrow:
LoyaltyOne owns and operates Canada’s premiere coalition loyalty rewards program, called the AIR MILES Reward Program. Collectors simply shop for every day necessities, such as grocery, gas and pharmacy, at participating top retail brands and earn reward miles. With over 10 million active Collector Accounts in Canada, representing two-thirds of Canadian households, LoyaltyOne is in a unique position to influence consumer behavior.
Leveraging the reach of the AIR MILES brand naturally became part of conversations as LoyaltyOne integrated sustainability into its core business in 2007. With increased media attention around the subject, there was a passionate group of employees who were making small changes around the office, such as eliminating Styrofoam cups and implementing double-sided printing. They caught the attention of LoyaltyOne’s President and CEO Bryan
There is no shortage of perspectives about climate change, its causes, or the effects it has on the Earth and its inhabitants. With New York and the Mid-Atlantic States experiencing two “100-year storms” in the past 10 years, climate change has been on the minds of many. The economics are worth considering. According to a recent report issued by Munich RE, just shy of half of overall losses due to natural catastrophes happen in well-insured countries (the U.S. and Canada, the EU and Australia) but almost 90 percent of insured losses happen in those countries. As we think about how to manage risk, and as more people and corporations in developing economies seek to protect their economic progress, this challenge looms larger.
Executives who participated in our 2012 State of Corporate Citizenship survey make it clear that environmental concerns are growing in importance to their companies’ business success and survey respondents predict environmental programs will have the highest increases in investment among corporate citizenship priorities.
In 18 months, thousands of public companies in the United States that make or use metal in their products or packaging must disclose their use of conflict minerals with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The new regulation intends to bring transparency to the murky supply chain of four rare earth metals – tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold – that are vital to the technology revolution. A portion of the world’s supplies comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the central African frontier, where millions have died and children are forced to work in bleak conditions while armed rebels profit from the minerals trade.
Rebels escalated hostilities in late November, vying for control of Goma, a border city through which key minerals are exported into neighboring Rwanda. United Nations’ sanctions have not produced a solution.
Our annual Earthwatch-Ernst & Young Ambassadors Program has something in common with my garden – it is vibrant and fast-growing. It is also an integral part of the seasonal rhythm at Ernst & Young, but not in exactly the way I had envisioned when we planted the first seeds over four years ago.
Yes, our people have contributed to the Earthwatch Institute’s environmental field research in Brazil and Costa Rica.