Eight members of Associated Industries of Massachusetts were today named to the 'Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World' list unveiled at Davos, Switzerland.
Andover-based Philips, the diversified health-care and consumer-products company, was the highest ranked Massachusetts organization, taking seventh spot on the list compiled by Toronto publisher Corporate Knights. Other companies with a significant presence in Massachusetts making the Top 100 list include Biogen Idec of Cambridge (8); Intel Corporation (14); Cisco Systems (20); Siemens (31); General Electric (51); AstraZeneca (72); and Repsol (84).
Philips was cited for continued investments in innovation, efficiency and transparency within the supply chain and focus on positive customer experiences that consistently place sustainability at the core of the company's business practices. Under the program name EcoVision, Philips focuses on three sustainability targets for 2015 in the areas of care, energy efficiency and recycling.
The approach, combined with performance in energy, carbon and water productivity, increased Philips' ranking by six positions, up from 13th in 2012.
"Securing this ranking illustrates our ongoing achievements and leadership in sustainability," said Greg Sebasky, chairman, Philips North America, and a director of AIM. "We aim to improve the lives of 3 billion people per year by 2025, and apply environmental and community considerations throughout our operations to achieve this objective."
Robert Paine, Senior Vice President of Membership for AIM and director of the association’s Sustainability Roundtables, said the presence of eight major Massachusetts employers on the Top 100 list reflects rapidly growing interest in sustainability.
“Well-run companies like those in the Top 100 have been operating in a sustainable manner for years because it's good business. Today, these companies are requiring their suppliers to do the same,” Paine said.
“The AIM Sustainability Roundtables are giving employers throughout Massachusetts the opportunity to learn from world-class sustainability players such as Philips and Cisco.”
Philips has implemented its EcoVision program in Massachusetts by:
- Using renewable wind energy to produce 70 percent of the electricity needed for its Lightolier facility in Fall River;
- Recycling more than 340 tons of waste, such as light bulbs, paper and construction debris;
- Composting more than 22,000 pounds of food materials, the equivalent of 54 55-gallon barrels;
- Supporting local communities through volunteer and service programs, such as the employee garden and food drive collection that donated more than 2,700 pounds of food to the Merrimack Valley Food Bank's Mobile Food Pantry; and
- Maximizing efficient use of facility space, for instance with a Work Place Innovation program (which enables flex-working) on the Andover campus.
The following article was written by Dr. Wayne Bates and Julie Muszalski, who lead AIM Sustainability Roundtables in Milford and Whatley. Bates is vice president at Capaccio Environmental Engineering Inc. and an adjunct professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Muszalski, MA, is a sustainability professional at Capaccio, and adjunct professor at Mount Wachusett Community College.
Capaccio Environmental Engineering recently surveyed industrial manufacturing firms regarding their current and future sustainability practices. More than 100 environmental, health and safety, and facilities managers from 28 industries responded to the survey. The results shed light on how various industries define sustainability, what their current and future initiatives are, and the various challenges associated with implementing a sustainability program.
One of the most telling results was that managers from nearly 80 percent of companies expect their organizations to increase focus on sustainability during the next two years, but 56 percent do not expect their company to increase the number of resources or amount of funding for sustainability projects. This poses the question that if sustainability continuea to be an agenda item, how will companies address sustainability without additional funding?
Sustainability initiatives must be “woven” into the “fabric” of your company, rather than just another random thread on a “to-do” list. The field of environmental, health and safety has evolved over the years to the point where systems have been developed to manage environmental aspects. It is imperative that the systems in place be capable of identifying and weaving new sustainability “threads” into the organizational fabric.
How does your company define sustainability? What challenges does your company currently face? Are you prepared going forward for 2013? We invite you to join one of our upcoming AIM Sustainability Roundtables to find out how your colleagues throughout Massachusetts are approaching this new business requirement.
Editor's Note - Dr. Robert Pojasek is the leader of sustainability at Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure in Stoughton and an adjunct professor at the Harvard Extension School where he teaches “Strategies for Sustainability Management.”
Do you really know about the ethics and practices of your suppliers? What will you do if one of those suppliers is cited for bad corporate behavior?
It wasn’t long ago that your purchasing department was focused only on cost, reliability and quality. Sustainability is now being added to your mix as a result of inquiries from your larger customers. You may find yourself getting more involved with the way sourcing and purchasing is done looking forward.
Perhaps your organization is a supplier of services or products to customers who really care about sustainability. It is not uncommon to be queried about your sustainability program as part of the purchasing or sourcing process that you go through with these customers. You begin to realize that the customer is also holding you responsible for your purchasing. So no matter where you may reside in the value chains (i.e., a supply chain that includes the customer) that use your products and services, you need to be sure that you can implement an effective sustainability program and extend it into your supply chain.
Despite what you may read, it’s not just about environmental stewardship. Your suppliers may engage in human rights violations or outright corruption. When they are caught, there is a media frenzy to find out what other companies are potentially complicit in this activity. To build awareness of these risks, many companies include supplier “codes of conduct” in the purchasing cycle to make sure that the organizations that you do business with are following all environmental, health & safety, social and economic legal requirements
Environmental, social and economic problems in the supply chain cause operational, regulatory, and reputational risks to all of the companies in the value chain. In today’s economic climate, you are exposed to more risk due to the increased responsibility for what your suppliers do or do not do. Integrating sustainability criteria into procurement procedures (including the supplier code of conduct) will help your organization make better choices, not only with sustainability in mind, but also for your own bottom line. Your “top line” can also improve as your results of sustainability efforts become known.
It is important that your supply chain management efforts go beyond just adding sustainability criteria to procurement specifications. You need to determine what is happening with the criteria and collecting evidence of the changes actually taking place.
The key to engaging suppliers and creating effective partnerships involves two-way communication. Suppliers need to provide evidence of their conformance to specifications. They will want to know how this information will be used and how that use would affect their business with your organization. You need to know about how your efforts will translate to more work with your customers.
Supplier engagement that leads to working partnerships should create continual improvement throughout the supply chain. This, in turn, will lead to competitive advantage in the marketplace for reasons that go beyond sustainability. In the next AIM Sustainability Roundtable, we will be taking a close look at supply chain management and sustainability.
Robert B. Pojasek is an adjunct lecturer at Harvard University and the Sustainability Practice Leader at Capaccio Environmental Engineering.
Sustainability could be the most elusive thing your customers ever demand of you.
Business owners and managers justifiably cringe at the term because it has been misused and misunderstood to the point of becoming almost meaningless. Advertising Age magazine named sustainability as one of its “Jargoniest Jargon” terms of 2010, placing the phrase right up there with a win-win situation and walking the walk.
But make no mistake - global corporations such as Wal-Mart and IBM have made sustainability part of their business model in an effort to save money and improve efficiency. And those corporations are requiring their suppliers to do the same. If you're not already filling out supplier questionnaires about your sustainability efforts get ready - it's only a matter of time.
Even world financial markets acknowledge the prevalence of sustainability as a corporate strategy. Global companies now compete fiercely to be listed on financial indices such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and the FTSE4Good in Britain, or on Newsweek magazine’s Green Rankings.
So let’s define sustainability. It is the ability of an organization to manage with transparency its responsibilities for environmental stewardship, social well-being and economic prosperity over the long term while being held accountable to its stakeholders. You may know sustainability by one of its more common names - corporate social responsibility, corporate responsibility, environmental responsibility or sustainable development.
Once the province of a few companies seeking to “do well by doing good,” sustainability has been driven into the broader business landscape by an unlikely combination of supply-chain efficiency initiatives, resolutions from activist shareholders, risk concerns among insurers and Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure requirements.
As I work with Associated Industries of Massachusetts to launch Sustainability Roundtables in September, I’ve isolated several key points for employers concerned about meeting increasing demands from customers for sustainable practices:
- Your company is probably practicing elements of sustainability already, especially if you have undertaken initiatives to reduce waste and improve productivity.
- Influential global companies are committed to sustainability not as a matter of philanthropy, activism or social conscience. These corporations believe that sustainability is good for business and for the bottom line.
- The potential financial benefits of sustainability grow out of energy efficiency, leaner packaging, cleaner plants, conservation of resources and improved efficiency. Waste is not only bad for the environment, it’s expensive.
- Environmental stewardship means that products, activities and services create no negative impact on the environment.
- Responsibility for social well-being means that an organization seeks to avoid negative impacts to society, with an emphasis on employees and the people who use the company’s products or services.
- Economic prosperity extends to all of the communities in which an organization operates.
- Sustainability also provides a way to reduce operational, regulatory and reputational risk. Companies have always hedged against unacceptable risks, but sustainability practices are now included in the risk management programs of most major companies. These customers similarly expect suppliers to reduce and manage risk as part of a closely connected value chain.
I’d love to get your thoughts at one of our September AIM Sustainability Roundtables. You’re welcome to join us whether your company is an industry leader in sustainability or just beginning to get your arms around the concept.