Stories – People & Planet
Corporate sustainability drivers: risk management and more
Part of Dr. Gardner’s work is helping corporations understand that good sustainability management is an exercise in risk management. And risk management is important to investors, so that’s one driver for corporate sustainability efforts. Another driver is new revenue opportunities or cost reduction. “Some companies recognize an opportunity to bring a new product or a new service to market that is more environmentally friendly or more socially responsible and that can generate new revenue for them,” says Dr. Gardner. “There are also companies that are motivated by the opportunity to realize efficiencies in how they operate. If I can produce a product using less raw materials, using less energy, then my costs are lower.”
The first step is crucial, because that’s where companies decide where they can have the biggest impact on the world – answering the question, “In what ways are we uniquely positioned to drive change?” Is it energy consumption, water usage, human rights, diversity, or something else?
Technology and people both play a role
Technology plays a key role in helping companies improve their sustainability profile. “It helps in all kinds of ways – reducing energy usage, water usage, more efficient equipment,” says Dr. Gardner. “But there is also a human component to this. It’s ultimately people who initiate sustainability programs, who innovate and commit to change and are willing to explore unfamiliar areas.”
At the end of the day, Dr. Gardner aspires to be a catalyst for change. “Helping people become aware of these issues, helping people and corporations understand how they can make a difference – it’s my life’s work. We want to have the greatest impact in a way that works for the world and for the business.”
How Comet is solving for what’s next.