How can companies avoid missteps in the supply chain that can lead to snafus like the embarrassing exposure of dubious practices at Apple’s Chinese supplier factory, Foxconn?
One way, says Taryn Sullivan, Founder and CEO of Efficiency Exchange (EEx), is to show local factories why better, more sustainable practices can actually help the local business from the inside—not just serve as a stepping stone to cut deals with multinational customers.
How might urban climate change affect business? What can business—and cities—do about it? And how might each help the other prepare for a potential threat to what’s clearly a mutually beneficial relationship?
Who better to answer the questions than Cynthia Rosenzweig, Senior Research Scientist at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Columbia University Earth Institute, and Adjunct Professor at New York City’s Barnard College.
The world-renowned urban climate change expert is the Co-Editor of the recently released book, Climate Change and Cities: First Assessment Report (ARC3) of the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN) published in2011 (Cambridge University Press). The UCCRN was hatched at the C40 Large Cities Summit in New York City in 2007, with more than 300 members in cities around the world.
Depending on scientific estimates, cities account for 40-80 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The urban population is forecast to nearly double to 6.4 billion, or 70% of the world’s population, by mid-century, according to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. That would lift emission levels, along with urban temperatures. ARC3 projects that temperatures in 12 cities it studied (including New York, London, Shanghai and Sao Paulo), could rise between one and four degrees Celsius by 2050.”
Those radical changes challenge cities to re-evaluate how to protect people, prioritize investments, deploy assets, and rethink growth and development.
At the GreenBiz Forum in New York City last week, Ernst & Young offered a preview of fall 2011 survey results of sustainability program and reporting trends at leading companies in 24 sectors. Of the more than 270 respondents, 85 percent are based in the U.S.
The session, led by E&Y assurance and sustainability and climate change practice experts, highlighted six trends:
1. A rise in sustainability reporting;
2. An increase in the CFO’s sustainability role;
3. The emergence of employees as a key sustainability stakeholder force;
4. Strong reporting on greenhouse gas emissions and mounting reporting on water use — despite regulatory uncertainty;
5. Growing concern about access to raw materials (including so-called conflict minerals) as a business supply chain issue;
6. Special attention to outside rankings and ratings on the part of corporate executives.
Who better to offer some sustainability advice to CFOs than the former EVP and Global Head of an international ratings service, who delivered double-digit growth for nine years running?
As she leaves The McGraw-Hill Companies, Vickie Tillman, who for two years has headed the company’s sustainability initiatives for its Global Strategy Group as Senior VP of Global Sustainability Business Development and previously ran its subsidiary, Standard & Poor’s (S&P), has some financial tips for sustainability executives (and sustainability tips for finance professionals).
Read more, first posted on January 13, 2012, onAnn Goodman’s blog on GreenBiz