A blog focused on sustainable business issues and challenges

Archive for April, 2010

Climate Change Regulation is a Top Concern to Risk Managers

April 30, 2010 | Comment (1)

Companies today are facing a changing risk landscape as political and regulatory environments begin to address the many challenges associated with resource scarcity and global climate change.

In fact, in a new survey from Zurich Financial Services Group, Ceres and the Professional Risk Managers International Association (PRMIA), thirty percent of the corporate risk managers polled said climate change regulation was one of the top five risks facing their company.

But, what are organizations doing to mitigate their exposure?

“It’s clear that risk managers are conscious of risks posed to ‘business as usual’ by climate change,” says Lindene Patton, chief climate product officer for Zurich Financial Services Group.  “Now it is time to convert that knowledge to risk management action.”

The report recommends risk managers take the following steps to learn more about what these evolving risks mean for their business: (more…)

Hilton Develops LightStay to Measure Sustainability of Its Buildings and Services

April 29, 2010 | No Comments →

With a few notable exceptions, the travel and leisure industry has generally lagged behind other sectors with regard to the adoption of sustainability practices. Gradually, though, I’m noticing the tide beginning to shift as more and more hotels start to recognize the business benefits of a comprehensive sustainability platform.

For example, just last week Hilton Worldwide announced that it is has developed a proprietary system, called LightStay, to calculate and analyze the environmental impact of its hotels.

By 2012, the company says it will require property-level measurement of sustainability for all 3,500 properties within its global portfolio of brands –-making  Hilton Worldwide the first major multi-brand company in the hospitality industry to mandate that type of accountability. Consequently, measurement of sustainability performance will become a brand standard, on the same level as service, and evaluated accordingly as part of regular, property-level reviews.

LightStay takes into account energy and water use and waste and carbon outputs associated with building operations and services provided at Hilton Worldwide properties. As part of this, the system measures indicators across 200 operational practices including housekeeping, paper product use, food waste, chemical storage, air quality and transportation.

This project has been in development for two years, and in the first full-year of findings, the 2009 LightStay results show that the 1,300 Hilton Worldwide properties using the system: (more…)

Lloyd’s: Water Management is Now a Core Business Issue

April 28, 2010 | No Comments →

A new report from Lloyd’s and WWF offers a straightforward directive that I believe can no longer be ignored:

Businesses around the world must act now if they are to fend off the threat of a growing water shortage.

After all, all goods require water at some point in their production –but water is a finite resource. According to the report, Global Water Scarcity: Risks and challenges for business,  only 3 percent of water in the world is fresh water, and only 1 percent is readily usable to humans. What’s more, this limited supply is threatened by the increased demand for food and water resulting from population growth,  climate change and higher per capita water requirements resulting from increased living standards.

Unfortunately, though, as I have pointed out before, even companies in water-intensive industries are still struggling with weak management and disclosure of water-related risks and opportunities.

“Water scarcity is already a reality for some businesses and as this trend increases all risk managers will need to consider their organization’s exposure,” says Lloyd’s CEO, Richard Ward. “The most simple risk management response is to reduce your own water use or that of your suppliers. However, businesses cannot manage this risk alone and will need to work with the wider community to improve water management and protect this critical resource.”

Specifically, the report identifies two strategies for companies to manage water risk: (more…)

Intel Receives LEED Gold Certification for Its First Green Building

April 27, 2010 | Comment (1)

Intel Corporation has obtained its first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the new Intel Design Center 9 (IDC 9), a state-of-the-art green building set to open in Haifa, Israel in June. (An exterior view of the building is shown above.)

IDC 9 has secured a LEED Gold-level rating and is the first building in Israel to receive this level of recognition for sustainable construction.

Here are a few notable elements of IDC 9’s sustainable design and construction: (more…)

IBM Now Requires Suppliers to Address Sustainability

April 26, 2010 | No Comments →

Last week, IBM announced that its first-tier suppliers will now be required to establish and follow a management system designed to address their corporate and environmental responsibilities.

IBM runs one of the world’s largest and most complex supply chains, spanning some 28,000 first-tier suppliers across 90 countries, and like Walmart, Ingersoll Rand and others , the company recognizes the enormous potential of this supplier network to advance sustainability initiatives.

Specifically, IBM suppliers are now required to: (more…)