The following is excerpted from the most recent issue of The Corporate Citizen, the Center’s biannual magazine.
Setting audacious long-term goals and working toward them is the central challenge of every business. One of the challenges for high-performing companies is creating evolutionary goals that are based on a vision for a sustainable future.
Addressing Boston College’s CEO Club in May 2014, Mark Parker, president and chief executive officer of NIKE, Inc., shared the company’s evolutionary process: “We wanted a mission statement and a set of values and guiding principles that were really true to the spirit of the company—that were forward-looking, aspirational, and something that employees would actually reference and use in their work.”
The following originally appeared in the most recent issue of The Corporate Citizen, the Center’s magazine, and outlines Dell’s Legacy for Good Plan, a set of corporate citizenship goals for the year 2020. Come to the Center’s 2015 International Corporate Citizenship Conference to learn more about this ambitious program from Dell, the event’s convening sponsor.
In May 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry addressed Boston College’s graduating class and urged them to meet the threat of climate change head-on. His challenge to the next generation of leaders echoed his recent call to action to diplomats across the world, urging them to elevate the environment in everything they do and work together to adopt a new, ambitious environmental agreement by 2020.
- More than 120 world leaders attended the United Nations Climate Summit this past September in New York, and more than 400,000 protesters took to the streets during that same event.
- The European Union pledged to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions from its 28 member states by 20 percent in 2020 compared to 1990 levels.
Have you set your environmental footprint goals for 2015 and beyond? Setting emissions targets can be a daunting task, but it is also a very tangible way to demonstrate a strong commitment to corporate citizenship.
More than 4,500 companies begin the process of measuring, managing, and mitigating their contributions to climate change by completing the CDP Climate Change Questionnaire, which is a key standard for environmental emissions reporting.
According to a 2011 MIT Sloan School of Management study, 67 percent of global executives say that sustainability strategies are necessary to be competitive. As a global leader in the sporting goods industry, the adidas Group recently redesigned its sustainability journey into a “4Ps” model emphasizing people, product, planet, and partnership. Now, as part of its mature chemical management program, the company will screen and manage chemical input at the supplier level through a recent partnership with bluesign technologies, a company dedicated to sustainable movement within textile industries.
During our most recent webinar, Environmental impacts and innovation: Corporate practices with green intentions, we learned from three corporate professionals who lead successful sustainability programs within their companies. As demonstrated through this webinar and our recent signature research report, The State of Corporate Citizenship, environmental issues are top of mind for leading companies. Representatives from Waste Management, Brown-Forman, and TD Bank demonstrated that leadership support, employee engagement,and even revenue generation are possible when the company values environmental sustainability. Creative solutions and meaningful investments of time, resources, and employee ingenuity enable these companies to improve the environment and their bottom line.
Environmental issues are top of mind for many companies and their stakeholders. With public awareness of environmental issues on the rise, companies have started to respond in meaningful ways through their investment decisions, environmental goals, and impact reduction. In the past few years, several major disruptive weather events have interrupted business as usual, underlining the need to address environmental issues as a serious risk to business. The United States public spent approximately $100 billion responding to extreme weather events in the last year (NRDC.org 2012) and companies are not immune to such high costs. The benefits of managing environmental impacts are both tangible and intangible, often resulting in cost savings and even revenue generation (see this research brief for more information.)
Today we celebrate Earth Day, an annual day on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It also happens that our International Corporate Citizenship conference coincides with this special day. As we kickoff the second day of the conference we would like to let you know that we are doing our part to be environmentally conscious. Our commitment to environmental sustainability goes beyond supporting the efforts of business. We operate those same values in the decisions we have made for this event. Below are just a few of the steps we’ve taken for the 2013 International Corporate Citizenship Conference.
- The Boston Marriott Copley, site of the conference, has a number of environmental measures in place, including eco-friendly water service stations, energy-efficient light bulbs, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, and environmentally friendly cleaning supplies and laundry operations.
- Our conference materials are also part of our commitment to environmental sustainability. The conference bag attendees received is made from 100 percent recyclable material and the conference guide is printed on 100 percent post-consumer waste paper that is FSC- and Green Seal-certified. The printer is also FSC-certified and uses vegetable-based ink.
- Thanks to our Carbon Offset sponsor, Microsoft, the International Corporate Citizenship Conference and all attendee travel will have its carbon footprint offset in support of an EPA Landfill Gas Energy Project in Dartmouth, Mass. This project helps to establish a long-term solid waste management program through the recycling of landfill gases (LFG) into energy sources.
This year more than 1 billion people will take part in Earth Day. Here at the International Corporate Citizenship Conference we have 650 attendees doing their part to make a difference and help protect our planet.
In 2011, Newell Rubbermaid developed an environmental sustainability program designed to measure progress toward its goals to reduce water and energy usage, lower emissions and increase recycling across the company. The Environmental Sustainability Excellence (ESX) program, as it is now called, allows Newell Rubbermaid’s facilities to systematically assess the environmental impacts associated with production and upstream supply chain activities. Balaji Jayaseelan, Newell Rubbermaid’s Program Manager of Environmental Sustainability, recently shared some insights into the development of the ESX program and its impact on the company’s sustainability efforts.