Corporate environmental sustainability initiatives are increasingly important to enterprise organizations, and for good reason. According to Forrester, “As more government mandates take shape around the world, investor scrutiny on sustainability issues increases, and customers demand tangible action, all organizations will need to craft a meaningful level of sustainability strategy.”[i]
The good news is that a well-crafted corporate environmental sustainability practice is good for humanity, but also good for business. Companies that thoughtfully and meaningfully address the environmental sustainability concerns of their key stakeholders, such as customers, employees, partners, investors, and industry analysts, will benefit from increased sales, profitability, employee retention, investment, and brand equity.
Below, we highlight some of our best practices for implementing a corporate environmental plan, using sustainability data, that will help you to reduce your carbon footprint.
Addressing Climate Change
One of the top environmental sustainability concerns of key stakeholders is climate change. Accordingly, many corporate environmental sustainability roadmaps include a plan for reducing the Greenhouse Gas emissions that contribute to climate change. As carbon dioxide represents the majority of Greenhouse Gas emissions from human activity, many companies work on decreasing these emissions specifically. This is also known as reducing “carbon footprint.”
One way that you can reduce your enterprise organization’s carbon footprint is by reducing your energy consumption:
Measure your current and historical energy consumption.
Calculate the carbon emissions resulting from that energy consumption.
Create a model for predicting future emissions based upon the current and historical data you have collected (potentially leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and/or machine learning (ML) technology).
Work with key stakeholders in your organization to set a goal for reducing these projected emissions and put together a sustainability data plan to achieve that objective.
Assemble a governance team to put your plan into action. This team is responsible for sharing progress with key internal and external stakeholders, as well as optimizing performance.
One Step at a Time
It’s easy for companies to become overwhelmed by the amount of data and analytics required to properly assess, manage, and report on carbon emissions, especially if you include carbon emissions from upstream (supplier and partner) and downstream (employee and consumer) activities related to the products and solutions you sell. Here’s what we recommend:
Start with what you can control as a company. For example, aggregate, analyze, and optimize your company’s utility bills.
Evaluate the carbon footprint of your suppliers and partners. Ask your partners and suppliers for their carbon emission reports and their plans for reducing their footprint.
Do what you can to positively influence the behavior of your customers and employees. For example, provide your customers with environmentally friendly choices in their purchase path, such as carbon neutral shipping options. Allow some or all of your employees to work from home, reducing carbon previously emitted from their commute.
It’s a Journey
Per Forrester: “When implemented correctly, a firm’s sustainability efforts will build trust, increase resilience, and open new markets. But the journey to becoming a future-generation-safe firm, and the benefits that it garners, requires not only public commitment but a well- executed roadmap to avoid loss of trust with stakeholders, customers, and employees.”[ii] Reducing your carbon footprint is an achievable goal that will benefit all stakeholders involved—and the planet as a whole.
For information about how our Sustainable Experience Engineering (SEE) practice can help your organization leverage sustainability data to transform its corporate environmental sustainability efforts, please contact us.
[i] Assess Your Own Sustainability ROI, Forrester Research, Inc., April 22, 2021
[ii] Guide Your Sustainability Program With The Forrester Sustainability Maturity Model, Forrester Research, Inc., October 27, 2021