Sustainability Really Means Good Business

2015-12-07-17-31-03-FullSizeRenderOur Education Ambassadors were honored to welcome Laura Bishop, Best Buy’s Vice President of Public Affairs & Sustainability, for our first day of Café Roundtables this week.  When Laura took responsibility for Best Buy’s sustainability program three years ago, the company was undertaking a business transformation in a tough economy.  Despite these challenges, Best Buy never lost sight of its environmental commitment, setting a goal to reduce carbon emissions 20 percent by 2020.  By this year, it had already surpassed this target and set a new goal to achieve a 45 percent carbon reduction by 2020.

Best Buy achieved its 20 by 20 goal primarily by:

  • Lighting retrofits for its stores – which has a payback period of less than 2 years.
  • Transportation – including more efficient routes driven by the Geek Squad tech support team as well as  “right-sizing” its fleet of vehicles.
  • An aggressive, transparent and comprehensive product life cycle program which extends product usefulness through repair, trade-in and recycling services.

Since 2009, carbon reductions have saved Best Buy over $50 million. And sustainability efforts have helped retain employees who value  the company’s efforts to address climate change.

Sustainable practices increasingly matter to shareholders, too. Best Buy discloses yearly carbon performance and strategy though CDP, who provides investors with a ranking of companies that effectively manage their carbon emissions. CDP measures various levels of corporate commitment from supply chain and production to leadership.  Best Buy scored 98A- last year and this year achieved a perfect score of 100A.

There are even more reasons Best Buy is committed to confronting climate change.  Last year, over half of its stores were impacted by extreme weather – store closures not only effect customers, but also employees, who rely on consistent employment.

Instability within the supply chain also negatively impacts business and consumers. For example, severe flooding in Thailand this past year caused a 6-month delay in shipping hard drives to the U. S.  This led to higher product costs because components needed to be flown in, rather than shipped.

Yet products are also part of the solution. Best Buy is a leading provider of ENERGY STAR® certified appliances and electronics, enabling customers to save $500 million in utility bills since 2009.  Best Buy also has signed President Obama’s American Business Act on Climate, which calls for carbon commitments from leading companies as well as a strong outcome in Paris COP21 negotiations.  As of Dec. 1st, over 150 companies have signed on to commitments. These companies operate in all 50 states, employ nearly 11 million people, represent more than $4.2 trillion in annual revenue, and have a combined market capitalization of over $7 trillion.

These pledges include ambitious, company-specific goals such as:

  • Reducing emissions by as much as 50 percent,
  • Reducing water usage by as much as 80 percent,
  • Achieving zero waste-to-landfill,
  • Purchasing 100 percent renewable energy, and
  • Pursuing zero net deforestation in supply chains.

It should be noted that these pledges made by corporations are above and beyond the INDC goals of 24-26 percent that the United States submitted for its carbon goal.

We are proud to partner with Best Buy and appreciate its support in bringing 10 Education Ambassadors to Paris for the COP21.  It is clear that sustainability is good business for all.

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