Many organisations can become disconnected in the way in which Energy and Sustainability is managed so that significant environmental and financial benefits can be lost. Here, Allen and York’s Victoria Kenrick presents an in-depth look at the development of the Energy and Sustainability role within North American wind energy organisations.
Sustainability has become a mantra for the 21st century. It embodies the promise of societal and business evolution towards a more equitable and wealthy world in which the natural environment and our cultural and corporate achievements are aligned. Within a business context, sustainability can accordingly be defined as meeting the needs of a firm’s direct and indirect stakeholders, without compromising its ability to meet the needs of future stakeholders as well. Putting sustainability at the forefront of business has for many US-based companies created a positive brand association and increased consumer interest, equating to financial buoyancy. Put simply, sustainability is good for business.
It’s also good for the planet. Global issues surrounding energy security, unstable fuel prices and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as sustainable procurement, the purchase of raw materials from sustainable sources, ethical trade and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), has led to organisations across America and Canada increasingly making the commitment to move towards a more sustainable, low carbon, energy-efficient model.
Across Europe, as well, for instance, governments are focused on carbon reduction. For example France is planning to reduce its CO2 emissions by 75 per cent while its neighbour Germany has set a reduction target of 40 per cent by 2020 with the Emissions Ordinum (emissions trading scheme) coming into force in 2012. The latest Cancun Climate Change Summit also resulted in global agreement that requires deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the new ISO 26000 standard comes at a time when businesses are being judged on anything from their e-waste disposal and safety standards to their carbon emissions.