Friday, May 28, 2010

Rethink Business

Mark Hurd, the Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, recently stated, “Environmental responsibility is good business. We’ve reached the tipping point where the price and performance of IT are no longer compromised by being green, but are now enhanced by it.”

In Rethink Business: How Addressing Climate Change can Improve the Bottom Line, WWF has released a report identifying benefits and challenges that arose when WWF Climate Savers companies addressed climate change. “The Climate Savers program is one of WWF’s key global platforms to engage business in climate change management. Developed in 1988, Climate Savers mobilizes companies to face the challenge of greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and dispel the myth that sustainability is a threat to profit.”

The report goes on to say that “it is not only intended to highlight the significant impact the corporate sector can play in a transition to a low-carbon economy but it is also meant to serve as a guide for companies that are either thinking of beginning their sustainability journey or ones that have already started on the path.”

The GHG reduction strategies are not rocket science, but they have been tried and tested by leading players in the corporate world. “While the Climate Savers program has 23 members spanning multiple sectors and geographies, there is relative uniformity in the strategies that have been employed to deliver these results.”
The 7 key learnings are:
• Integrate GHG reduction strategies into the business model
• Be holistic in identifying opportunities. Reduction opportunities are throughout your entire organization and its supply chain and geographies
• Be innovative in developing solutions
• Estimate, measure and report GHGs. Treat your GHGs like financials in how they are estimated and reported to stakeholders
• Use tools to support the effort
• Develop partnerships and networks
• Influence policymakers and improve your reputation
Further to the key learnings, the report also provides 4 Canadian case studies, Catalyst Paper, The Coca-Cola Company, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and Hewlett-Packard Canada.

In his remarks, Hadley Archer, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, WWF-Canada, spoke to the scepticism that some people feel when asked to celebrate corporate environmental achievements. He said that while some WWF staff are doubtful at first, the commitment of the companies and the actual reductions convince them. Collectively, the Climate Savers companies deliver over 14 million tons of GHG savings annually.

The last word goes to Prof. Andrew Crane, who wrote the foreward for the report. “The greatest resource that business can bring to the climate problem is the wellspring of innovation and creativity that resides in companies across the world. To date, though, Canadian firms have yet to distinguish themselves as carbon economy innovators. I hope that the experience and wisdom distilled in this report will provide the foundation on which such a future will be built. These Climate Savers companies are leading the way. But there is still a long way to go.”

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