Diversey Ups Emissions Reductions Investments, Earns Bigger ROI

Diversey Ups Emissions Reductions Investments, Earns Bigger ROI

Last year, as part of a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund-led Climate Savers group, Diversey (formerly known as JohnsonDiversey) set a goal to reduce the firm's net greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent before 2013.

It turns out, that goal was easy to achieve: During a webcast today launching the Green Buildings Market and Impact Report, Diversey CEO Ed Lonergan announced that not only has the company already achieved that goal and more, but they had set a new target of reducing total emissions by 25 percent before 2013.

"As we've unleashed our employees and our partners on this process, we continue to find new ways to operate more efficiently, benefiting the company and benefiting the world," Lonergan said.

In the past year, he explained, Diversey employees have helped the company uncover easy projects that can cut energy costs, waste and water use, while boosting productivity and profits. Examples of these "treasure hunts" included reusable dishes and coffee cups in break rooms, default double-sided printing, and others.
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Lonergan said that "none of these moves were particularly painful," and added that these steps had added an additional 2 percent to the company's overall emissions cuts to date.

Selling the stepped-up goal to Diversey's board of directors was not a painful process, either: Lonergan said that although it will cost a projected $12 million to achieve the 25 percent reductions, the company will earn about $32 million in savings as a result.

"Getting maybe $2.15 back for every $1 invested, that's a good ROI, and it's not hard to sell those projects," Lonergan explained.

Interestingly, when Diversey announced the 8 percent goal last year, the company expected to invest $19 million in order to achieve a savings of $31 million, suggesting that the company is getting more bang for its energy-efficiency buck.

Lonergan's made the announcements during a live webcast launching the 2009 Green Buildings Market and Impact Report, a study researched and written by Rob Watson, the executive editor of GreenerBuildings.com. The report is the first to take a hard look at the real-world impacts that LEED-certified buildings have already acheived on reducing energy use, emissions and water use from the world's green buildings.

One question from the webcast focused on how daytime cleaning practices had affected Diversey's bottom line; Lonergan said moving the cleaning crews to a daytime shift, far from a money-losing project, has a bottom-line benefit for the company from being able to turn lights off at night rather than leaving lights on for cleaning crews, as well as benefits for people who work for the company.

"[Daytime cleaning] has dramatically changed how cleaning was done," Lonergan said, "and as a result we have a lower cost today than we did with nighttime cleaning."

This merging of the "three legs of the stool" of traditional triple-bottom-line thinking -- people, planets and profits -- is an example of what Lonergan said was the future of corporate responsibility.

"We're in a new area of an integrated bottom line," Lonergan said, saying that all three elements of the triple bottom line are merging into a single element, "and companies are proving to the world that you can be sustainable and be profitable at the same time."

The Green Buildings Market and Impact Report is available for free download from GreenerBuildings.com, and the webcast with Ed Lonergan, Rob Watson and GreenBiz.com executive editor Joel Makower will be archived for 90 days at TinyURL.com/GreenBizGBMIRWebcast.