Sustainability1 is often considered nice to do when convenient, but it can actually reward both the top line and the bottom line. Consider these results from three companies that embed sustainability practices throughout their operations.
The Dow Chemical Company, which created a Sustainable Chemistry Index, increased its sales of sustainable chemistry2 products between 2009 and 2010, rising from 3.4 percent to 4.3 percent of all revenue. By 2015, it expects such sales to be 10 percent of revenue.
SAP, which established 400 sustainability metrics embedded in its processes, saved $250 million between 2008 and 2010 in energy costs. It expects absolute energy consumption to remain at 2000 levels through 2020, despite continuing global expansion.
Intel saved $136 million in 2010 from 11 employee environmental projects, and the company includes environmental performance goals throughout its operations, extending to its global value chain.
Dow, SAP, and Intel share a common understanding of how to advance on sustainability over the long term: It is not a separate function or activity but a core value embedded in the company. The environmental and social impact of products and operations is integrated with how the enterprise creates economic value. Through strategy and systems that provide useful information and meaningful incentives, each part of the business understands how it contributes to the company’s long-term success.
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