Climate Change and Sustainability as Megatrends
Megatrends, as we discussed in our last sustainability blog, are long-term shifts that affect businesses, society and governments. When trying to predict megatrends, experts often look out over what may happen in the coming half century—and climate change is the most significant sustainability topic when considering the next several decades.
As a driver of risk and opportunity for a growing number of industries, business leaders increasingly address climate change in their financial filings and strategic plans. Climate risks range from the effect of prolonged drought on a company’s access to water needed to manufacture products, to facilities’ resilience in the face of rising sea levels, to political instability. Therefore, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to climate change benefit the planet and an organization’s long-term viability.
Climate change can also present opportunities for companies that take advantage of the low-carbon economy. Investing in renewable energy protects supply chains from volatile pricing in the future, improving investors’ outlook for a business. When it comes to green building construction, the potential for valuable differentiation is clear: owners of new or existing green building projects said they saw an average ROI of up to 10 to 20 percent above average. Lease rates run as much as 20 percent above average, and green buildings command higher than average rental prices. With such high stakes, companies are getting serious about their environmental, social and governance commitments
What is Southwire Doing?
In 2016, as we closed out our existing goals, Southwire developed new, bold five-year sustainability goals. We were careful to align our new goals with our Southwire Sustainability Tenets and with megatrends that are likely to impact our business risks and opportunities in the years to come.
Our new “Growing Green” goal is to achieve top decile Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) performance in operational eco-efficiency by 2021. This requires continued progress in managing our energy, waste and water use. Supporting this goal, we introduced a new emissions target to reduce energy and GHG emissions intensity by 15 percent by 2021 through conservation and the use of renewable energy. Our Growing Green goal aligns with megatrends including:
- World Economic Forum’s “Changing Climate” and “Degrading Environmental Sustainability”;
- TrendOne’s “Sustainability”; and
- The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals’ “Climate Action”, “Responsible Consumption & Production”, “Life on Land”, “Clean Water and Sanitation” and “Affordable & Clean Energy”.
To read more about our work toward environmental sustainability in 2015, visit the Growing Green section or Energy Usage page in our 2015 report. Our 2016 sustainability report, coming in the second quarter of 2017, will provide additional detail about Southwire’s 2021 sustainability goals and targets.