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Building a Greener World

shutterstock_338532854 Four best practices leading companies can implement to improve their sustainable construction strategy. By Marta Chmielowicz In a society that is increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability, “green” building is quickly becoming a top priority. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, buildings are the largest consumers of energy worldwide, accounting for nearly 40 percent of total U.S. energy use and carbon dioxide emissions. Given this vast impact, it is no surprise that responsible building practices have seen such rapid growth, with a 2016 Dodge Data & Analytics study reporting that demand for green buildings continues to double every three years. “Green building is evolving to become the new normal,” says Curt Radkin, senior vice president and sustainability strategist at Wells Fargo Corporate Properties Group. “It is becoming a part of consumers’ baseline expectations and will eventually not be seen as a differentiator, but a requirement.

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Responsible Construction

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A business’ commitment to CR starts within its own walls. Here are the top sustainable headquarters serving as prime examples of green construction.

By The Editors

Companies today are looking to improve their sustainability track records in every way possible, including the structures in which they operate. Building in accordance with specific environmental standards allows corporations to position themselves as CR leaders. The following is a list of organizations that best represent responsible construction. This list was compiled from editorial research and nominations that were vetted by CR Magazine staff.

Click here to view the 2017 Most Sustainable Corporate Headquarters list.

Alternative Plans

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Leading power providers are doing better business by utilizing clean energy.
By Christa Elliott
Once confined to the realm of idealistic buzzwords, the phrase “alternative energy” has evolved into a concrete and actionable business objective for major companies around the globe. This is especially true for utility companies—which were some of the first to answer the call for renewable resource use— because of product nature and the sheer scale of environmental impact. Despite the costs and long-term, strategic planning involved in providing sustainable energy, companies that make the right investments will find clean energy initiatives help get consumers interested in their brand, illustrate a commitment to the world in which they operate, and even improve the bottom line. Continue reading →

The Meat of CR

064288a The executive director of the Arby’s Foundation talks ‘opportunity’—and how an effective corporate responsibility platform speaks to every stakeholder. By Allie Williams Arby’s is more than just hamburgers. The Arby’s Foundation was founded in 1986 as a way for the company to give back to the communities it serves. It has donated more than $80 million to various charitable causes across the country, and since 2011 has focused its mission to ending childhood hunger in America—contributing nearly $25 million to hunger relief organizations in the U.S. Chris Fuller, executive director of the Arby’s Foundation, discusses what drives CR at the company and how the future of its philanthropy looks “PurposeFULL.” Allie Williams: As a practitioner, how does telling the CR story feel different from everyday sales and marketing? Chris Fuller: The key is to create a level of consistency where the story may be different, but your voice is the same.

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Embedding Sustainability

Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 1.37.23 PM How companies can create a strategic advantage by implementing CR with key stakeholders. By Suhas Apte And Jagdish N. Sheth Achieving a lasting, sustainable, competitive advantage through sustainability itself requires both consistent and persistent efforts on the part of every business and industry. As its respective market performance bars are constantly raised, an organization’s efforts will need to go far beyond just upgrading to energy-efficient light bulbs or recycling office paper, for example. To fully embrace sustainability as a competitive advantage, businesses must create transformative change in traditional approaches and practices. A business must embed sustainability into its corporate culture—its own DNA—and strategically invest in new and innovative processes, practices, and systems. Only those company leaders that embrace sustainability in a holistic, transformative, and balanced way—so as to engage and energize stakeholders—will be able to deliver triple-bottom-line benefits to the businesses.

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What Came First: The Chicken Or The Egg?

shutterstock_143551261 Supply chain lessons learned from the challenge of the 'cage-free' trend. Nick Anderson In late 2015, a small group of food companies declared they would transition to using exclusively cage-free eggs by 2025. This type of announcement was not a new for food companies, but it did set off a snowball effect of animal welfare policy changes and commitments throughout the food industry. Today, nearly every major food company, restaurant, and food retail business has some form of cage-free egg policy. Many factors contributed to this significant and rapid industry shift, but a few of them were key: increasing consumer interest in farm animal welfare practices; companies’ willingness to commit to changes to build or protect their brand image; and, perhaps most importantly, consumers reacting positively to the term “cage-free.” Let’s face it: cage-free sounds wonderful. Of course consumers don’t want chickens locked up in cages. Who doesn’t prefer freedom to the alternative? The chickens, most likely.

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Going Beyond the Product

2b72c36 Scott Tew, director of the Ingersoll Rand Center for Energy Efficiency & Sustainability, discusses the evolving role of CR at the organization. By Allie Williams As a global company, Ingersoll Rand is responsible for meeting the needs of stakeholders everywhere. This means operating as a responsible company is a critical business objective. Scott Tew, director of the Ingersoll Rand Center for Energy Efficiency & Sustainability and business strategy, talks about how the organization is telling its CR story while pushing ahead—and leading the way—toward its 2020 goals. Allie Williams: As a practitioner, how does telling the CR story feel different from everyday sales and marketing? Scott Tew: Telling the corporate responsibility [story] does not feel all at that different than talking about sales and marketing because it is woven into all that we do.

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The Sustainable Future Looks Bright

shutterstock_424743475 Schneider Electric’s SVP of energy and sustainability services talks responsible reporting and the importance of transparency. By Steve Wilhite As a company that specializes in global energy management and automation—offering building and energy management systems, security controls, analytics, electrical utilities and renewables, industrial automation solutions, and data centers—Schneider Electric knows the importance of having a sustainable energy supply. One of its current goals is to build an ecosystem that helps customers reduce their own energy consumption by 30 percent through active energy efficiency and sustainability solutions. The company also helps its clients navigate their entire reporting process by determining the right framework to meet their goals, implementing productivity tools, and analyzing and verifying sustainability data—and 64 percent of their clients received an A or A- in this year’s CDP scores as a result.

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Putting Capital In Communities

Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 11.02.38 AM Non-profit CEO Terri Ludwig unlocks potential in underserved areas through impact investments. by Elliot Clark Prioritizing corporate responsibility can mean creating hiring diversity initiatives or reducing a company's carbon footprint, but for some, it radically reshapes the way they do business. Case in point: Terri Ludwig. This financial aficionado and president and CEO of Enterprise Community Partners decided to use her Wall Street smarts to give back to underprivileged communities through investments in low-income housing. As a result of her efforts, she won the 2015 Responsible CEO of the Year Award at the COMMIT! Forum in October 2015. Here, she discusses the reality of poverty in America, her 15 years in the community investment market, and what she's doing to reach her goal of housing 1 million low-income families by 2020. Elliot Clark: You started life in southern Illinois but now you're in the Big Apple. And you went from investment banking, which is usually perceived as sort of a heartless business in many respects, to low income housing community investment.

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Shining Bright

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By The Editors

Our annual spotlight on the best of the best providers and practitioners in corporate responsibility. While strong leadership is an essential trait for executives in corporate responsibility, demonstrating this attribute while performing important tasks, practicing sustainable habits, contributing to the company's bottom line, and driving others to perform exceptionally is worth acknowledgement. CR Magazine honors those who demonstrate a superior dedication to CR that is evident in every aspect of their daily lives. The CR Superstar is someone who lives and breathes sustainability and encourages everyone around them to participate in creating a better business environment. This is our annual list of outstanding CR thought leaders—successful individuals who were nominated by their industry peers, CR Magazine staff, and the Corporate Responsibility Association for their groundbreaking ideas, high-level thinking, and impressive leadership.

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