Back in, say, 2009, carbon reduction was the holy grail of corporate good citizenship.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act. The business world was expecting some form of carbon regulation, whether in the form of a tax or cap-and-trade legislation. Business enterprises were looking at their environmental balance sheets, and thinking about positioning themselves to be able to deal with imminent federal energy policy.
But the Senate failed to pass a companion climate and energy bill, and action on carbon has sputtered to a halt. Without a carbon tax on the horizon, corporations are no longer feeling the same urgency to act.
That doesn’t mean the issue is dead. Jackie Pitera at Environmental Leader brings us up to date.
Companies are looking at “total resource use”.
These days, if you want to insure your brand reputation, plan for regulatory and legislative risk, be proactive about stakeholder relations, and distinguish yourself from your competition, you’ve still got to be thinking about your carbon footprint – but also beyond it.
You’ve got to consider water use, solid waste, recycling, air and water emissions, materials use, fair trade, sustainability, local economies, transportation… you name it. Look upstream to the supply chain, using supplier scorecards, and downstream to product use and disposition, through life cycle analysis.
No organization will attain perfection, but it pays to get into the conversation early.
Photo credit: FlyingSinger