3 ways to cut carbon: creative lessons in corporate citizenship

windmillIs cutting carbon part of your future business focus? It’s certainly on the minds of many these days:
  • 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.
  • President Obama reaffirmed his climate change action plan to reduce carbon pollution and prepare the United States for climate change at the UN Climate Summit.
  • The OECD reports that climate change will curb global GDP by 1.5 percent on average and almost 6 percent in South and South-East Asia, unless increases in CO2 emissions are curbed.

Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship members are paying attention and taking action. Efforts range from investing in renewable energy to creating internal carbon pricing programs and involving employees in multiple ways.

Renewable Energy

IKEA’s renewable energy investments in the United States include 104 wind turbines and 165,000 solar panels installed on 90 percent of IKEA buildings across the country. Fellow retailer Kohl’s has 160 solar power systems activated in 14 states. Tech giant Google is using renewable energy to power 35 percent of its operations.Tweet: Tech giant @Google is using #renewable energy to power 35% of its operations.

Carbon pricing

The CDP reports that 150 companies worldwide use some type of internal carbon pricing as a tool to reduce emissions.Tweet: The #CDP reports that 150 companies worldwide use some type of internal #carbonpricing as a tool to reduce #emissions. These include Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship members Microsoft and Walt Disney Company, who have introduced programs that charge business units for the greenhouse gases they emit and then use the funds to invest in sustainable projects or renewable energy.

Employee engagement

As employee engagement in corporate citizenship activities is a major focus for Center members, it’s not surprising to hear how companies are using green teams—empowering employees to generate ideas and offering work life programs to reduce carbon. It’s an efficient way to take advantage of your best resource—employees—for maximum impact. For example, an idea from an employee at Dell led to a global power management initiative that saves the company 12,000 tons of CO2 annually.

Wells Fargo’s Green Teams helped the company achieve LEED certification at 10 of their administrative buildings. Green Teams also helped reduce the company’s Scope 3 emissions through commute campaigns, resulting in conserving more than 1,400 gallons of gas, equating to roughly 12.6 metric tons of cO2. Meanwhile, State Street and PwC help their employees cut commuting emissions through flex time and telecommuting programs.

What is your future business focus regarding carbon emission remission? Does it include any or all of the examples mentioned here? Are you trying to figure out what may be best for your company? Learn more about reporting your carbon use during our CDP Reporting: Disclosing Environmental Impacts class, share your best practices and challenges, and bring some new ideas back to your company to create a future that includes less carbon emissions.


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