Sustainability Action Plan
As businesses continue to meet the increasing demand of consumers, their impact on the environment and production of waste is amplified significantly. Carbon footprint and CO2 emissions become an even greater concern when the product must be transported to customers across the globe. In fact, CO2 emissions from transporting products alone accounted for 1.2 billion tons of CO2, or 4.5 percent of global emissions in 2012 (citation). While increased waste and pollution are an inevitable byproduct of manufacturing and delivering products, companies in the telecommunications industry are making sustainable practices the forefront of their business plan. Firms such as Cox Communications are restructuring their entire business processes to reduce their impact in manufacturing as well delivering their products to customers. As of early 2013 Cox Communications had invested over five billion dollars in alternative energy, water and energy conservation, eco-friendly shipping fleets and waste management. As a result of their efforts, Cox prevents over fifty thousand tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the environment annually, while simultaneously increasing their bottom line. As the business world begins to place more emphasis on sustainable practices, innovative firms who embrace sustainability will be light-years ahead of their competition. In the following pages we will look at Cox’s sustainability program as a model for businesses in a variety of industries to effect the change necessary to be competitive in an ever changing business world. Additionally, we will look at challenges companies face in implementing sustainable practices as well as opportunities that can benefit companies, stakeholders and the environment. Cox Conserves- Sustainability Initiative
The Cox Conserves program was implemented in 2007 as part of the company’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by twenty percent over the next ten years. Since the program’s inception, Cox has reduced energy consumption by 5.3 percent annually, conserves 12 million gallons of water each year and reduced fleet emissions by close to 13 percent annually. In addition, the firm has recycled over 360,000 cubic yards of material and increased community and employee awareness of the importance of sustainable practices. The Cox Conserves program takes a holistic view of sustainability and incorporates a variety of green practices. Many companies focus on only one or two aspects of sustainability whereas Cox Conserves works with alternative energy, water and energy conservation, reducing emissions from their fleet and waste management. According to Elizabeth Olmstead, one of the coordinators of the program, the multi-level approach to Cox Conserves has been a contributing factor to its success over the last 6 years (citation). Alternative Energy
One of the most impressive aspects of the Cox Conserves program is their implementation of multiple alternative energy projects across the United States. To date, Cox has completed large scale solar panel installations on many of its buildings in Arizona, California, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon and Tennessee. Many of these buildings are powered by free standing canopy solar panels or rooftop solar paneling. In fact, Manheim a subsidiary of Cox which wholesales used vehicles at live auction, built a one hundred thousand square foot solar canopy which generates fifty two percent of the buildings electricity and produces over 1048 megawatt hours (MWh) annually. This translates into a reduction of 708 tons of carbon each year. Similar solar installations have been implemented in the other states and collectively provide a significant source of power to buildings utilizing this technology.
Additionally, Cox has utilized fuel cell technology to power many of its operations in California. For example, Cox’s Oakland and San Diego...