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What’s happening this week at the intersection of management and technology: An aggressive response to cybercrime; technologically-enhanced facilities management; brainstorming in the cloud.
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How much more does it cost to make a building “green”? Most people assume it’s a lot. But John Sterman, MIT Sloan School of Management’s Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management and the director of the MIT System Dynamics Group, says that the premium to build MIT’s LEED-certified Sloan School building has been small. “MIT is a data-driven place,” Sterman says. “You have to make the argument with data before people will act.”
Hugh Scandrett, VP of engineering for EnerNOC, is bringing transparency to an energy system that works against clarity. The goal: help companies realize more cost savings and cut back on energy usage. In a Q&A, Scandrett says that one big issue for companies is predicting future demand. “We predict a company’s usage based on analytics that look at weather, degree of sun azimuth, and a whole set of other parameters,” he says. “We then can provide techniques for minimizing peak usage, like pre-cooling a building.”
The best way to reduce emissions and cut costs is to transport goods efficiently. So why aren’t more companies taking the steps that would get them there? In a set of three case studies, one of the key obstacle becomes clear: implementing logistics strategies to reduce emissions requires significant internal and external collaboration between companies, suppliers, and shippers. But as these case studies prove, undertaking complicated process changes can also produce significant rewards.
At AT&T, John Schulz, a director of sustainability operations, had to make the company’s energy and water use data visible before the company could formulate a plan to reduce those numbers. The company’s definition has now broadened and evolved to include the social perspective on sustainability.
At Dell, the sustainability team, working with suppliers and recyclers, has developed new compostable packaging materials made from bamboo and mushrooms. As John Pflueger, Principal Environmental Strategist, says, “It’s absolutely amazing.” Long a “pain point” for customers, the new lighter and compostable packaging is a big step forward, improving many sustainability metrics.
Just because you can’t measure an action doesn’t mean it’s not creating strategic value, says Suzanne Fallender, director of CSR Strategy and Communications for Intel. Her job, though, is to measure wherever she can and make the best case possible for incorporating sustainability efforts into every facet of the company.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Power Profiler tells U.S. residents where their electricity comes from, and offers suggests for switching to green energy.
Can a company that supplies electricity really become a partner in helping customers optimize their electric use? Absolutely, says Jim Rogers, chairman, president and CEO of Duke Energy: “We can make it totally back of mind for you, and we can create huge productivity gains in the process.”
Even corporations with clear environmental aims fail to go the distance when it comes to their supply chains. But lessons from a small group of Fortune 500 companies can give them the direction they need.
Celebrated scientist, entrepreneur and sustainable business strategist Amory Lovins on how companies can seize the opportunities they’re missing.
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