Some members of the business community are already playing a leading role in the war against climate change. These companies are making better use of resources, increasing energy efficiency measures, creating more energy-efficient products, and investing in new energy technologies. Many of these businesses are implementing technologies that reduce CO2 emissions and increasing their use of renewable energy while decreasing their use of energy derived from fossil fuels.
Assessment and reporting is an important part of these efforts and we are seeing more and more measurement tools, best practices, benchmarks and verification.
Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the US, it has specific environmental goals to reduce energy use in its stores and pressure its 60,000 suppliers in its worldwide supply chain to follow its lead. On energy efficiency, Wal-Mart wants to increase the fuel efficiency of its truck fleet by 25% over the next three years and double it within ten years. By 2020, it is expected to save the company $494 million a year. The company also plans to build stores that are at least 25% more energy efficient.
By addressing the environmental issues inherent in their business models, companies not only improve their practices, but also ensure the sustainability of their core business and help to make entire markets more sustainable.
For many companies, looking at more efficient energy use can pay off in the medium to long term. The problem is that shareholders are preoccupied with short term returns, and it may take many years for the costs of climate change to become apparent. However, heavily subsidized carbon-heavy fuels will not be artificially cheap forever and clean technology will be less expensive once it gains critical mass. Many businesses are looking at longer term time horizons and they increasingly understand that companies that ignore the trend will be at a competitive disadvantage.
Businesses are increasingly concerned about factoring environmental risks along-side other factors that impact a company’s performance and value. This trend will continue as carbon intensity starts to show up on balance books through organizations such as the Carbon Disclosure Project.
The involvement of the business community is crucial to global carbon reduction. Around 97 percent of the C02 emitted by western industrialized countries comes from burning coal, oil and gas for energy, much of which is used by business.
Some businesses are offsetting their carbon by paying someone else to plant trees or find other ways to reduce carbon emissions. Businesses that have purchased carbon offsets including HSBC and The Guardian newspaper.
Efficiency initiatives and renewable energy have many advantages for the environment and businesses are increasingly understanding the benefits for their bottom line.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
Business Will Lead the War Against Climate Change
Businesses are Combating Climate Change and Turning a Profit
Sustainable Practices are a Strategic Priority for Business
Sustainable Business Is Growing But It Still Has …
Best Practices for Sustainable Businesses
Best Practices for Engaging Employees in Sustainability
Best Practices for Communicating Sustainability
HP’s Leadership in Sustainable Innovation
Canadian Tire’s Sustainability Leadership
Toyota is Planning to Retain its Lead Over its Rivals with a New Fleet of Electric Vehicles
Hyundai’s Fuel Efficiency Leadership
Environmental Revolution: Leadership and Morale
10 Business Pledges in Support of A Billion Acts of Green