What's the Sustainability Story You Hope You Can Tell in 2012?

What's the Sustainability Story You Hope You Can Tell in 2012?

As 2010 draws to a close, GreenBiz asked executives from a range of companies -- all of whom have been featured in the news this year -- to tell us about their most exciting green prospects, the challenges and the changes they anticipate for 2011, and what they think 2011 will look like from the perspective of 2012. Here's what they told us:

On New Year's Day 2012, what's the story you hope you can tell about sustainability at your company?


Chuck Bennett, vice president of Earth and Community Care, Aveda

In one year we'd like to be able to say that we've increased network participation in our Earth Month campaign and helped independent Aveda salons and spas implement practices such as recycling programs or purchase of renewable energy that will help reduce their overall environmental footprint and make a more positive impact on their communities.

Michael Meehan, chief technology officer, co-founder ENXSuite

That 2011 is the year for cleantech in the US, and the world. The market is changing very rapidly -- EU carbon trading markets are about to shift into their post-2012 phase, California's carbon trading market is coming online, energy initiatives have gained a seat in boardrooms across the country, and cleantech innovation and technology continues to advance at an increasingly rapid pace. I believe 2011 is Cleantech's launchpad for the next decade and it's exciting to be part of it.

Tim Carey, Director of Sustainability and Technology, PepsiCo Americas Beverages

On New Year's Day 2012, I hope that we're talking about progress. Progress that PepsiCo has made to deliver on its 'Performance with Purpose' mission; progress against its 15 global environmental goals and commitments; and progress that we have made together -- as a collective community -- to have a positive impact on the world we live in.

Hannah Jones, Vice President of Sustainable Business and Innovation, Nike

Our story will be that we launched innovations, released tools and advocated successfully for transformational and sustainable change that inspired industry collaboration, and together, we moved forward to identify more sustainable solutions.


Rob Bernard, Chief Environmental Strategist, Microsoft

A year from now, I hope to say that tech leaders are embracing the importance of energy efficiency in IT adoption and customers are rapidly migrating to a cloud-based infrastructure to save energy, reduce costs and carbon emissions at scale. But a year won't be enough time for all the changes needed to ensure sustainability. If asked what story I'd like to tell in 2022, I'd say that I envision a radical evolution of the entire energy infrastructure. Some of the technology that will enable that change is under development now; some of it has yet to be imagined. What's important is taking the long view.

Joseph Taylor, Chairman and CEO, Panasonic Corp. of North America

We will have more green solutions for consumers' daily lives and employees will have a deeper understanding of sustainability as a goal in their business activities.


Jim Hanna, director of environmental impact, Starbucks

First, that we successfully executed recycling initiatives in a number of large communities in the U.S., providing the necessary catalysts to enhance local recycling infrastructures and bring us closer to our 2015 goal. Second, that every new, company-owned store in the world that was opened in 2011 either achieved or is currently registered for LEED certification.

Eric A. Spiegel, President and CEO, Siemens Corporation

I think we have a great reputation so far. Our DOW Jones sustainability index is very high, the highest of any industrial company, and we just got rated number one on the carbon disclosure. But I'd like to see us on the cover of a major magazine, or as a lead news story, that we are the environmental leader in the United States.

Adam Lowry, co-founder and Chief Greenskeeper, Method

That we are using no virgin plastic anywhere in our business. This is something we've been working on for a long time, and we're getting very close. I'm not sure if we'll achieve it in 2011, but it won't be long now. We are also doing some pretty interesting stuff right now with sustainable palm oil and in the area of sourcing plastics from our oceans. I hope we can demonstrate some real progress on some of these bigger sustainability challenges in 2011.

Joseph Danko, director of sustainable solutions, CH2M HILL

That CH2M HILL reaches new level of leadership as the "standout leader" in sustainable engineering.


Leisha John, Americas Director of Environmental Sustainability, Ernst & Young

I hope to say that we have continued to build momentum around our core goals of reducing our environmental impact, embedding environmental responsibility in our DNA and enhancing our credibility with our clients. With these goals in mind, every action taken by our EcoCare volunteers, along with numerous people in our IT, facility management, real estate and other operations groups, has helped pushed us to become a less carbon intensive and more resource efficient organization. I hope these efforts have a ripple effect with our clients, helping them to decrease their environmental footprints.

David Wilkerson, Corporate Director of Sustainability and Product Stewardship, Residential Division, Shaw Industries

We hope we can say that we are creating the most beautiful – and sustainable – flooring in the world. That we are contributing to making the world a better place for our customers, our people, and our communities; and are inspiring others in our industry and beyond to do the same. We are experiencing a thriving market recovery. We have increased our cradle to cradle products in the marketplace that can be remanufactured back into themselves over and over again. We have made significant investments in innovation to reduce the volume of post-consumer carpet waste going to the landfill and to reducing our environmental impacts in all categories.

Arlin Wasserman, vice president of sustainability and corporate social responsibility, Sodexo

Some organization -- maybe GreenBiz.com -- gave sustainability awards to the businesses we serve because we helped reduced their environmental footprint of their campuses and factories, helped engage their workforce in sustainability issues through our food service and improved their health and productivity, and collectively moved us closer to a Better Tomorrow. Ideally, some of those businesses would have hired us after reading the end-of-year GreenBiz special.

Terry Yosie, president and CEO of World Environment Center

I have a three word headline, "Sustainability Achieves Scale." Scale is the whole ballgame. The success or failure of sustainable development depends on whether global companies can integrate it into their global business strategies and operations as rapidly as possible. If not, sustainability will join the long line of other fads and trends that caused temporary excitement and ultimately faded away. The global marketplace is no respecter of theoretical possibilities or passionate exhortations. Assuming that sustainability meets the market test of value creation, it can release transformational innovation, leadership and opportunity at the individual level for generations to come.

Michel Gelobter, Chief Green Officer, Hara

Over the past year we've were already been managing energy and resource optimization across industries and geographies. Some of our clients have already saved a lot of money, improved their efficiency and strengthened brands, all while reducing their emissions. Now they're talking to each other in three new ways and each way is driving vast, new value:

1. Up and down the supply chain: they're collaborating, within particular supply chains and across suppliers, to figure out where to invest the most in driving down energy consumption and emissions.
2. Across the grids: Abu Dhabi is working with Singapore and North Dakota to figure out the best long-term investment opportunities in energy and water optimization.
3. Out to customers: Companies now have validated data on their footprint. It's game on with respect to who can sell the most with the least impact.

Leo Raudys, senior director of environmental sustainability, Best Buy

We're looking to have another great year in our electronics recycling program, which has been growing at a healthy clip since we started our in-store takeback program in 2009. We're on track to recycle 1 billion pounds of consumer goods in the next few years and we feel great about the progress we've made so far in achieving that goal.


Suzanne Shelton, Founder, President and CEO, Shelton Group

I think our story would really be more about the work we're doing for our clients...so we'd love to generate headlines about how our clients launched amazing campaigns that moved consumers to make more sustainable choices in 2011, and how we crafted the campaigns that told the stories.

Robert Houghton, president and founder of Redemtech

Technology prices fall every year, and recently used prices have been deflating even faster than new. When the cost of refurbishing and reselling equipment exceeds its value, recycling results -- not a very green outcome compared to the eco-benefits of a extending its life by years and avoiding resource-intense new manufacture. Meanwhile, 28 million low-income American households lack a computer and the benefits of digital inclusion. Redemtech's Serious Good initiative provides a framework for companies to donate surplus technology, while realizing a "Giving ROI" of 4-6X. Our 2011 goal is to see tens of thousands of PCs saved from recycling for the higher purpose of improving people's lives.

Bill Morrissey, vice president of environmental sustainability, The Clorox Company

By 2012, we would like to look back and be proud of how far we've come in our sustainability journey over the past five years. The story would include our commitment to sustainable products with Green Works, Burt's Bees and Brita. It also would include the substantial progress we will have made against our sustainability strategy with examples such as establishing an "Eco Network" employee volunteer group around the world and securing Platinum LEED–EB certification for our 36-year-old corporate office building in downtown Oakland. Finally, by 2012, we hope to be living our goal to make environmental sustainability core to how we do business, with highly engaged people -- from our employees to our most senior leaders -- driving this commitment.

Beth Shiroishi, assistant vice president of citizenship and sustainability, AT&T

In 2012, I want to be telling the story of the employee who came up with the killer idea that no one at headquarters would have ever imagined.



Fireworks photo CC-licensed by **Maurice**.