As we continue to navigate the evolving sustainability landscape, we are tapping our NYSE community to share experiences and learn from each other.
A few of our NYSE-listed companies recently sat down with Tensie Whelan, who heads the Center for Sustainable Business at the NYU Stern School of Business, to discuss measuring the ROI on sustainability. We’re sharing some of the key take-aways here.
Approximately 20% of investment taking place in the United States today is made under an ESG strategy. Research points to correlation between good ESG practices and performance, but there is no evidence of causality.
Whelan says that’s because most companies don’t track returns on sustainability investments. She’s leading the development of a methodology at Stern that is monetizing the ROI on sustainability investments. They are finding that sustainability can drive innovation, operational efficiency, risk mitigation, customer, employee and supplier engagement, among other benefits that can be monetized. Read more on that here.
She recently spoke with these NYSE-listed companies about how they look at the issues.
Don Anderson | Blackstone(NYSE: BX)Operating Partner and Chief Sustainability Officer
“When we invest in a new property, we assess energy consumption and look for operational and maintenance improvements that can improve performance. Anytime humans are involved, we find there are tweaks we can make, and we often achieve the first 15-30% of our overall energy efficiency gains this way. These changes are easy, fast and low cost.”
“If you’re in the early stages of measuring sustainability, follow your spend, that’s where the progress will be. Ask your building engineers and plant workers what they are doing around sustainability and what they are proud of - they probably have a great story for your company to tell.”
Jim Bath | Kimberly Clark Corporation(NYSE: KMB)Director of Global Environmental Services
“As a producer of disposable goods, we knew we had an opportunity to contribute to the circular economy. We launched a program to take back used goods and recycle them into new products. This service led to improved sales, much higher customer retention and shorter sales cycles.”
Mark Weick | Dow Chemical(NYSE: DWDP)Lead Director of Sustainability and Enterprise Risk Management
“At Dow Chemical, we talk about valuing nature. Nature can often do things that we’d otherwise spend a lot of capital to do. For example, we had an algae bloom issue at one of our facilities and could have remediated it with a $40 million waste water plant. Alternatively, we accomplished the same result by installing a $2 million wetland. So we saved $38 million as well as ongoing operational and maintenance costs by leveraging green infrastructure.”
We are pleased to bring together a network of the world’s leading companies to learn from each other and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including ESG.