In 2018, Daniel Hill, Project Manager for EDF Climate Corps, identified 4 corporate sustainability trends that business leaders should be considering going forward. Those four corporate trends were: (1.) growth in businesses setting Science-Based Targets, (2.) focus towards decreasing supply chain emissions, (3.) technology and internet businesses are stepping up on sustainability, and (4.) increased innovation.
Here is how those corporate sustainability trends played out:
1. There Is Rapid Growth of Companies Setting Science-Based Targets
In April, 250 businesses had either set or committed to establishing a Science-Based Target — goals which are in accord with the level of decarbonization needed to maintain global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial temperatures.
Now, that number is up to 497 companies — almost doubling in six months. With 2020 around the corner, many companies are setting new reduction goals, and Science-Based Targets have emerged as the new industry standard.
Here’s the reason: They aren’t a marketing claim, they are following the Paris Agreement’s goals, they assure accountability, and they provide companies a competing advantage.
Williams-Sonoma developed an energy-climate plan that integrated its already-existing CSR goals with industry best practices, including the possibility of placing Science-Based Targets. The end result was an investigation of business drivers and benefits setting Science-Based Targets, including goals for Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. The report will serve as a roadmap for completing the targets in a way that maximizes alignment overall business units and as a guide for joining the Science-Based Target initiative.
Other examples of companies upgrading their objectives include Hershey’s, which is seeking to adjust its already-existing targets using the Science-Based Targets force, and Colgate-Palmolive, which is investigating setting water goals.
2. Companies Are Looking to Handle their Supply Chain Emissions
‘Scope 3’ is one of the most famous buzzwords this year. Organizations are either discovering methods to decrease emissions beyond their whole value chain or are currently working to understand and measure their impact. It’s now a vital component for any business that wishes to have a genuinely comprehensive greenhouse gas management program. But counting, much less reducing, Scope 3 emissions remain to be a challenge.
Novartis made an interactive dashboard for reflecting both its downstream and upstream activities. Using this tool, Novartis now track total carbon emissions, recognize possible emission hotspots, and take steps by increasing supplier engagement actions to decrease its environmental influence.
Other companies that are maintaining their supply chain emissions are Danone, which is decreasing its cargo emissions, and American Eagle Outfitters, which will be calculating its Scope 3 emissions in a bid to set a baseline for its following sustainability objective.
3. Tech and Internet Companies Are Demonstrating A Commitment To Sustainability
Internet and tech companies have the power to make our lives more comfortable while reducing our impact on the planet. From Lyft declaring that all emissions from their riders will be offset (an EDF Climate Corps fellow developed the methodology to quantify those emissions) to Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft all committing to 100% renewable energy, tech, and internet businesses are rising up to decrease the footprint of their platforms. But what is even more interesting are those corporations that are authorizing their users to diminish emissions.
Kickstarter, the world’s greatest funding platform for creative projects — nearly 340,000 projects — formed an online environmental resource center for early-stage administrators. The resource center offers production-specific environmental tools to decrease the environmental impact related to the production and transportation of projects. But more importantly, it involves sustainability into the design from the start.
Other examples of tech companies that are currently leading the charge include Lyft, which declared its intent to become carbon neutral, and Google, which is investigating opportunities around carbon sequestration.
4. Environmental Innovation Is Changing Corporate Sustainability
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to corporate sustainability. That is not a 2018 fad a universal truth. From company to company, industry to industry, moving past the low-hanging fruit needs obtaining solutions that are unique to a company. This year, we’re seeing that when markets are confronted with challenges in reducing their carbon footprint, it may breed creativity and innovation.
Best Buy openly committed to establishing a Science-Based was interested in finding opportunities to improve efficiencies necessary to meet both new and existing goals. To accomplish this, the organization had to take into consideration its Scope 3 category “use of sold products,” the most significant contributor to GHG emissions and also among the trickiest to handle.
Best Buy came from a unique approach: reduce the effects of the products they market. Best Buy is creating a strategy to work with manufacturers, vendors, and merchants to enhance production efficiencies and educate its employees and sales experts so that they can help consumers buy the most efficient appliances and electronic devices.
Other examples of advanced ways to corporate sustainability cover how Ulta Beauty is combining ‘guest traffic’ with energy efficiency or how AT&T is measuring the ecological advantages of digital infrastructure.
In the last six months, we have noticed these trends are not fads, but in fact, the future of corporate sustainability.
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)
EDF is a leading worldwide nonprofit organization, produces transformational solutions to the most severe environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships.
As a leader in low-carbon energy, the EDF Group includes every sector of expertise, from production to selling and transmission grids. EDF produces on the experience of its R&D, its people and technology abilities, its expertise as a leading industry operator, and the considerate support of its customers to produce competitive solutions that successfully accommodate economic growth with climate protection.
Our company offers aims to assist individuals to better control their power consumption, support companies’ energy efficiency, and put sustainable solutions in place for local communities.
Through low and medium voltage lines, the distribution network sends electricity from transportation grids to customers (houses, companies, local authorities).
Managed by Enedis in France, the distribution system operator operated in a whole independent fashion, the supply network is present in 95 percent of metropolitan France. It guarantees the continuity of public service energy sources.
The team is known for its work on subjects including global warming, ecosystem recovery, oceans, and human health, and urges using sound science, economics, and legislation to find environmental solutions that work. It’s nonpartisan, and its work frequently advocates marketplace -based solutions to environmental issues.
The group’s headquarters are in New York, with offices across the US, with policy experts and scientists working globally. Local offices more focused on local issues and policies include Boston; Boulder, Austin, Texas; Colorado; Los Angeles; Sacramento, California; Raleigh, North Carolina; San Francisco; Washington, D.C.