Corporate Response to Carbon Emissions & Sustainability

Sustainability icons represent corporate response to climate change

We’ve already covered the airline industry’s initiatives, so this 2nd post of 3 will attempt to explain how a sample set of large corporations are addressing sustainability. As you can already guess, travel is sometimes the number one priority but for many companies, it is step 2 or even step 3 along their journey towards corporate responsibility.


With the decrease in carbon emissions during the pandemic, customer demands to be responsible, and the timing of commitments to become carbon neutral, corporations now face the requirement to produce measurable or defendable reports regarding their efforts to achieve sustainability. Small businesses, large businesses, and enterprise class organizations are all scrambling to create and execute their plans.


For example, Amazon created ‘The Climate Pledge’ – a commitment to be net-zero carbon across their business by 2040. So far, there are over one-hundred signatures from large organizations committing to reach net-zero emissions by 2040. In order for such a large-scale change to occur, standards need to be set, action plans need to be activated, and better measurement or estimation tools need to be created.


Forbes Business Council states that 90% of executives think sustainability is important, but only 60% of companies have a sustainability strategy. In short, many companies have announced sustainable plans, but most have not completely implemented their plans but project to do so in the near future.


One of our more proactive clients, Edgewell, is a fantastic example of an environmentally driven product company which has released their sustainability report for public inspection. As a manufacturer of consumer product brands, the organization is both aware of their impact on the environment and concerned about how consumers might interpret their plans. President and CEO, Rod Little said publicly in June, “As a personal care company, we are deeply committed to well-being, so we will continue to innovate and lead the way in our categories to care for our consumers, retailers, employers and the planet we all share.” Their goals include a shift to a low carbon economy, use 100% renewable electricity and reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 10% all by 2030.


Another creative corporate example is Discover Credit Cards. That organization announced a ‘CashBack Bonus’ redemption option with, a nonprofit carbon reduction & offset organization to give cardmembers an opportunity to help better the environment. Each dollar of Cashback Bonus donated by cardmembers will plant one tree through projects taking place in communities across the globe. Kate Manfred, chief marketing officer of Discover discusses the new redemption in a recent press release saying that the feature “…makes it easy for cardmembers to make an impact and help better our planet.”


With so many companies striving to become carbon neutral, how can they specifically work towards travel sustainability? One area of opportunity to implement sustainable travel for their employees by measuring and tracking their carbon footprint. A survey conducted in April by Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), found six out of ten companies have a sustainability policy, but only three out of ten have a policy that includes business travel. The clock is ticking -1 companies require innovative tools to track their travel carbon footprint.


Paul Tudor Jones II, the investor and founder of Just Capital commented, “Every single C.E.O. and board is having to figure out what their carbon footprint is and what they’re going to do about it.” Clearly, service organizations where travel is their #1 source of emissions will start by focusing on travel.


ITS has looked in the marketplace and unfortunately, found that most of the tools available to corporations apply brute force and extensive rounding, either grossly overvaluing or undervaluing the travel emissions. It’s time for new standards.


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