More companies are shifting priorities by using business intelligence to not only save on costs but to also become environmentally aware. Business intelligence’s ability to keep track of performance, as well as alert decision makers on behavioural changes, make it a complementary approach as demonstrated by the desire by many companies to become more eco-friendly. Even then, there is need for a clear roadmap that will tie in business intelligence with green initiatives.
Why Going Green is Important
The continued depletion of natural resources has led corporations that have large energy requirements to become more environmentally aware than ever. This is because not only do green initiatives save on costs, reuse resources and meet compliance requirements, but they also help to create brand recognition among customers.
Companies that are seen as being environmentally sensitive tend to create a vision of care. This provides the benefit of perceptions and practicality with the broader effects going beyond the organisation. However, the ability to save money by lowering the use of energy and power is more important. Besides lowering the consumption of energy, the technology adoption organisations also invest in R&D efforts and support social action initiatives that are geared towards environmentally friendly products as well as internal processes. This has broader effects on the environment at large.
List of Companies that Have Great Environmental Initiatives
1. Ford Motor Company
Automotive companies are known to be among the heaviest polluters. However, Ford Motor Company is changing this narrative through their ten-part environmental policy that they have implemented for years. The company uses sustainable fabrics in its vehicles while 80% of both its Focus and Escape vehicles are recyclable. The company also focuses on fuel efficiency, particularly on the six-speed transmission, offering a clean diesel heavy duty pickup truck. Furthermore, the paint fumes in the company’s plant in Michigan are recycled as fuel.
Ford’s factories also use Geothermal cooling systems while the Crown Victoria Interceptor that is distributed to the police has a fuel capacity that is flexible, making it able to run on either ethanol or gas. Additionally, Ford owns the world’s largest green roof and is the only company to have won the EPA Energy Star Award twice in a row.
Disney is determined to please companies that have made it a giant by using zero net direct greenhouse gas emission policies within all its facilities. In addition, it is working at reducing the indirect greenhouse gas emissions through the reduction of electrical consumption. Disney also has a zero waste policy meaning that there is nothing that would end up in landfills. The entertainment giant also uses technology that saves water and is working on lowering the footprint of its product manufacturing and distribution. This is tied up to the company’s policy of having a net positive environmental impact that has made Disney a leader in environmental responsibility.
3. Fisher Investments
The company has initiated the Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative that is aimed at contributing towards the preservation of California’s native Redwoods through cutting down on emissions and gasses that threaten their existence. More specifically, the company employs a plethora of ways in helping the environment through materials, as well as adjustable thermostats. Ultimately, the company’s commitment to reducing their footprint is unwavering.
Hewlett-Packard is one of the first companies to have reported its greenhouse gas emissions, after which they have initiated plans that are aimed at reducing emissions and cutting back on toxic substances used in manufacturing its products like cartridges. The company also has an aggressive recycling program that ensures most of the manufacturing waste does not end up in landfills. Furthermore, it has taken the lead in spreading word on the importance of environmental responsibility in its ads that promote green initiatives.
5. Johnson and Johnson
For more than 20 years now, this company has taken the lead in manufacturing personal care products that are environmentally responsible. It also has initiatives that reduce waste in the course of manufacturing and distribution through use of sustainable products and packaging methods where possible. The company also owns a fleet of hybrid vehicles that it also operates.
Nike is keen to highlight the value of green initiatives through its advertising in addition to putting the great ideas into practice. Its line of sustainable products is made using environmentally preferred materials like recycled polyester. The company also uses renewable energy sources in manufacturing. Moreover, Nike has pressed 650 of its suppliers in 52 countries to develop and implement written environmental policies.
7. eBay Eco-Initiatives
This company has its focus on environmental sustainability. This company has made it possible for people to exchange or reuse goods instead of throwing them away; thus not only increasing the lifespan of these products but also keeping them off landfills. The company also has a classified section where users are able to sell or buy used furniture, household appliances as well as other items that are hard to ship within the local community. The company has also partnered with United Stated Postal Service (USPS) to ensure green supply when it comes to shipping. Together, these two entities are co branded in environmentally friendly Priority Mail packaging that has earned them Cradle-to-Cradle certification.
8. Starbucks Stores Go Green
This company embraces principles of environmental sustainability across the board. The company not only purchases Fair Trade Certified and Certified organic coffee but also focuses on achieving LED certifications for its new outlets. By creating ‘green’ stores, the company is able to reduce operating costs as well as minimize the impact of business practices on the environment. In addition, the company has a green building strategy that includes adjusting temperatures for its air-conditioned stores from the standard that is 72o to 75o F and purchasing cabinetry that is made using 90% post industrial materials while incorporating low-flow water valves.
9. Google Environmental Innovations
This business innovator is another leader in embracing a greener future with its green supply chain management practices and environmental sustainability. The company demonstrates its commitment to going green through initiatives like powering its facilities with renewable energy sources, hosting farmers’ markets as well as sustainable cooking seminars and bringing goats to trim grass. Google also has in place an environmentally aware corporate culture, solidifying its reputation of being one of the world’s most forward thinking companies.
Overall, regardless of the initiatives that a company may embrace, businesses will do well to monitor these initiatives and identify ways of becoming more efficient over time.
After oil ushered in an era of excess, many people in the Middle East stopped building sensible homes adapted to harsh weather conditions. But a group of students from Oman are bridging the distance with a sustainable design with which even the most traditional Arab can identify. Here’s the thing: many homes in the Gulf region in particular have separate quarters for men and women (who aren’t a part of the family), making them rather large. Whether or not westerners agree with this, it’s a fact of life here – so the Higher College of Technology found a brilliant way to satisfy this requirement while slashing the home’s overall footprint by roughly two thirds. Then they added a slew of other sustainable features and a crown of solar panels, resulting in a super villa that is 100 percent powered by the sun and generates three times the energy it needs to run.
Mona Al Farsi, the HCT GreenNest Eco House project manager, told Inhabitat the students wanted to demonstrate that less is more. To that end, they rejected a few of the attributes common in Arab homes, which prioritize privacy above all. Instead of solid walls and curtains that suffocate the interior, they opted for shaded openings wrapped with vegetation and oriented towards the north to optimize natural light and ventilation. Al Farsi said this gives residents a moving framed image when they look outside as the seasons unfold and a greater sense of well-being as their connection to nature is thereby deepened.
The western wall is covered in greenery, creating a colorful habitat for pollinators and other creatures. Elsewhere on the site, which is located on the HCT campus in Muscat as an educational showcase that is now being incorporated into the architecture department’s curriculum, the students installed an insect hotel. They’re also growing food on site, including the citrus for which Oman is notorious. All around the house are shaded recreational areas that extend the living space, a particularly important feature for a people accustomed to entertaining many visitors.
About 60 percent of the home’s water is recycled for irrigation, a sensible conservation strategy further bolstered by low-flow fixtures. These are especially progressive features for homes in such a water scarce region. The rooftop PV array comprises 76 solar panels that feed energy to the city grid. Al Farsi says 50 panels would easily generate enough energy for a family of six.
GreenNest was the winning entry in Oman’s inaugural Eco House Design Competition. The students are required to monitor the home’s performance, in part to help the government transition to more sustainable housing that is also financially feasible. They are measuring temperature, humidity, energy generation and experimenting with different plants and crops as part of this year-long followup study. It’s not easy to find a sustainable home design modern Arabs can embrace (they’re not going to squeeze their families into tiny homes anytime soon). Now, after many years of searching, I think I’ve finally found a winning model.
MEDIA RELEASE FROM GROWTHPOINT PROPERTIES
Young environmental innovators from the University of Cape Town scooped both first and second prizes in the inaugural Growthpoint Greenovate Awards, which recognise innovation linked to environmental challenges.
The awards programme is an exciting initiative launched by Growthpoint Properties in association with the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) earlier this year. It is designed to inspire and encourage students of the built environment to discover, explore and invent ways to live more sustainably.
The Growthpoint Greenovate Awards was piloted at the University of Cape Town, University of the Witwatersrand and University of Pretoria in 2015. For its premier programme, students were challenged to come up with ideas that would result in a research project that promotes a more sustainable built environment. Their projects could be applied to any aspect of a building – design, development, planning, construction, materials – anything that makes the way we live greener and our environmental footprint lighter.
Werner van Antwerpen, head of sustainability at South Africa’s largest JSE-listed REIT, Growthpoint Properties, explains: “Everyone is a winner when innovation for a greener, healthier, more sustainable environment is nurtured. The university students taking part in the Greenovate Awards, and the winners in particular, presented pioneering projects. Their smart and inspiring thinking shows how we can drive green building thinking forward, to ensure a better, greener future.”
The winners were announced at a gala dinner at the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice Melrose Arch on 26 November 2015, with keynote speaker, well-known innovator and business leader, Michael Jordaan, who is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Montegray Capital. Groups from each of the participating university competed internally first, with the two top projects from each chosen as the six finalists.
The first ever winners of the Greenovate Awards are the UCT team of Rowan McKenzie, Dijon Ross and Miekie van der Merwe, with supervisor Saul Nurick. They focused on the role of the IPD Green Property Indicator in the South African property market.
This team of outstanding young green innovators took home R30,000 in prize money. They will also be fully sponsored to attend the GBCSA’s Green Building Convention in 2016. Here they will present their research project to property professionals and green leaders from around the country and across the continent. They will also be treated to green building tours to get an insider’s perspective on some of South Africa’s most innovative green buildings.
The UCT team taking second place, supervised by Dr Kathy Michell, comprised Alex Demetrious, Daniel Searle and Ken Toplis. They examined urban facilities management and the development of a sustainability rating tool for urban precincts. These students used the Central City Improvement District (CCID) of Cape Town as their case study. The team earned a prize of R8,000 for their insightful project, as well as tickets to the Green Building Convention in 2016. They will join the winning team on the green building tours.
The third placed group of young green thinkers came from University of the Witwatersrand. The team included Amy McGregor, Thabo Mthuthu and Wardah Peters, and was supervised by Dr Dave Root. This group of Wits students researched an Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) Framework to improve sustainability and green building practice in the construction industry. They won R2,000, tickets to the Green Building Convention 2016 and a place on the green building tours.
Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the GBCSA, who was also one of the competition judges says: “The award entries were all of an outstanding calibre. They show an exciting new wave of green thinking. Equally inspiring is the exposure that the many property, construction and quantity surveying third year and honours level students are getting to green building principles as a result the Growthpoint Greenovate Awards Programme. By learning about green building and sustainability early in their careers, the positive impacts this next generation of property professionals will have on our urban environment will benefit all South Africans hugely.”
Wilkinson was joined on the judging panel by Neil Gopal, CEO of the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA), Moeketsi Thobela who is CEO of the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) and Technical Director for Buildings at Aurecon, Martin Smith.
For Greenovate Award participants the benefits go well beyond winning a prize. The programme provides students with an opportunity to work with leading green building thinkers in Greenovate workshops with industry professionals.
Van Antwerpen says the success of this year’s competition will see the awards programme becoming much bigger in coming years. “Based on the positive response from the universities, this programme to recognise and encourage environmentally innovative thinking among South Africa’s future property leaders is poised to grow.”
Ultimately, the Growthpoint Greenovate Awards programme will be made available to all universities in the country with the appropriate built environment faculties.
Growthpoint Properties Limited
Werner van Antwerpen, Head of Sustainability
Tel: 011 944 6282