Life is not as we would have expected at this point in 2020, but the pace and promise of sustainability dialogue continues as vociferously this year as ever before. Through a variety of programs across the organization, the U.S. Chamber supports the business community's leadership on sustainability and promotes best practices and policies that enable the creative and innovative approaches businesses are taking to foster environmental progress and economic growth at home and abroad.
In recognition of the critical role that climate action plays in our shared priorities, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce compiled and released the Conquering Carbon: How Businesses are Leading the Charge on Climate Change profile series to demonstrate the business community’s leadership in the global climate change challenge.
The U.S. Chamber Foundation is expanding on this with a new publication of compiled case studies on climate action from different sectors that digs deeper into specific examples of industry approaches, best practices, and lessons learned for the benefit of the broader business community.
Climate action requires accelerated progress now to reach 2030 targets. We hope this compilation inspires you to support these and similar strategies being taken to tread a sustainable and resilient path forward. The moment for action is now.
Executive Director, Sustainability and Circular Economy Program
Corporate Citizenship Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
Associate Manager, Sustainability and Circular Economy Program
Corporate Citizenship Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
Reducing Carbon Through Energy Conservation in Manufacturing: Strategies to Enable Capital Investment to Reduce Operational Energy Use
Semiconductor manufacturing is an energy-intensive industry, but over the last decade, Intel has completed more than 2,000 energy conservation projects for a total savings of 4.5 billion kilowatt-hours, or enough electricity to support more than 400,000 average American homes for one year (according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2020). Today, reducing operational energy use is core to Intel’s overall climate strategy and 2030 goal to drive an additional 10% reduction in our absolute Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions from a 2020 baseline and to save an additional 4 billion kilowatt-hours of energy.
Institutionalizing Energy Conservation
Key to the success of any energy conservation program is support from senior management. In Intel a global network of dedicated energy managers, champions, and subject matter experts partner with local operations teams to identify, design, and implement innovative energy conservation projects. These experts share cross-site learnings and offer technical expertise to guide project managers and system-level engineers through the process of scoping, resourcing, funding, and delivering these energy efficiency and conservation projects. Financial investment is required to drive energy conservation at scale.
Strategic Investment Areas
Although energy conservation opportunities are present across the spectrum of Intel’s manufacturing operations, we have identified strategic investment areas to enable identification of best solutions, shared learning, and increase speed of implementation:
Efficient lighting: Upgrading lighting can be a good way to demonstrate early success for an energy conservation program, especially longer lifetime warranty for LED lighting products and solutions. In Intel cleanrooms, custom lighting fixtures are required for integration into the ceiling grids. We implemented an LED solution that delivers operational energy savings of 80% to 95% compared to the previous lighting system. The cleanroom LED solution replaced every four fluorescent fixtures with two LED fixtures with integrated control, occupancy and light level sensors, and increased light output.
Chilled Water Cooling: Given the heat removal required in semiconductor manufacturing facilities, chilled water systems are significant energy users, accounting for up to 20% of total electricity use. Chiller technology has evolved significantly with the use of low global warming – potential refrigerants, magnetic bearings, medium voltage frequency drives, and improved control modes of operation. Intel conducted a detailed assessment of all our chilled water systems to understand their configurations, modes of operation, overall system health, and opportunities for improvement. Intel identified an opportunity for an average of 20% energy performance improvement. Based on these findings, we initiated an effort to begin converting existing chilled water systems to new full variable primary flow systems. These conversions also present an opportunity to integrate Internet of Things-based controls with online remote system experts to provide operator support and optimize energy savings.
Compressed air: Semiconductor manufacturing has always required the use of clean, dry air. The production of this air requires dryer systems and compressors, both of which use energy.
Typically, over 80% of energy used to generate compressed air is lost as heat. As such, implementation of a centralized heat recovery system allows productive use of that heat. The impact of allowing the compressors to run slightly warmer to use the available heat requires additional cooling of the air. While there is energy required to cool this air, it has an additional benefit of allowing removal of moisture with a water separator before the drying process, reducing its energy intensity. These measures, including variable frequency compressors, have allowed Intel to improve energy performance by up to 20%.
Heat Recovery/Electrification: For manufacturing facilities where heating is required, the available heat from equipment lends itself to a holistic factory approach to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Intel commenced the journey of heat recovery first with chiller condenser water providing heat for incoming city water while reducing cooling tower load. In the late 1990’s, we began using chillers to provide heating, and what followed was a move to standardize specifications, dedicating heat recovery chiller/heat pumps for cleanroom makeup air low temperature heating. This shift reduced boiler fossil fuel heating by over 30%. New developments in higher temperature heat pumps allow for the increased possibility of boiler replacement. In addition, the electrification of heat provides for a more immediate route to using renewable energy where biogas is not available.
Technology as an Enabler
Technology can enable understanding of where and how energy is used to improve energy management, and verify impact of energy conservation actions. Intel-based Internet of Things-enabled sensors, devices, and data analytics give intelligence to equipment and deliver operational insights to lower maintenance costs, enable new lines of business, and improve overall productivity.
Encouraging Industry Action
Acting alone, Intel cannot achieve the broad, societal impact we aspire to. Our 2030 corporate responsibility strategy and goals reflect even greater ambition for ourselves, as well as a growing sense of urgency to work with others to address challenges no one can tackle alone. We are committed to applying our deep experience as a leader in global manufacturing and leveraging our unique position within the technology ecosystem to help our customers achieve their own sustainability goals and accelerate progress in key areas across the entire technology industry.
Collaborating on Climate Tech
Climate change is one of the world’s most pressing challenges. In the short 2016-2020 period, the U.S. has endured a series of catastrophic hurricanes in the Southeast, including Matthew, Irma, Maria, and Michael, and the largest and deadliest wildfire season on record in the West. These climate-related events not only pose a direct threat to communities, infrastructure, and businesses but also carry with them the potential for compounding impacts on our economy, national security, health, and wellbeing.
As one of the world’s largest companies, determining how to better prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change is an increasingly important factor in decision making at AT&T. High-intensity winds and floods caused by storms and sea-level rise, for example, create the need to be strategic to protect new and existing telecommunications infrastructure such as fiber and cell sites. We also need to enhance network redundancy in disaster-prone areas to ensure our network stays operational during extreme weather events.
AT&T’s Climate Resiliency Project
To better understand how we are positioned to respond to climate change, AT&T engaged the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory to develop a Climate Change Analysis Tool. It combines Argonne’s regional climate modeling data with sophisticated mapping capabilities to visualize climate-related risk to company infrastructure. Instead of relying on 10-day weather forecasts and historical weather data, we can now visualize climate-related events decades into the future. This information will help us plan for maintenance, disaster recovery, and future construction to best serve our customers and communities.
We chose to engage Argonne because of the lab’s expertise and access to high-resolution climate models that project impacts at the local and regional level. Internally, we developed a climate resilience team of company executives, data scientists, and geographic information system (GIS) specialists. As part of the project scope, Argonne delivered forecast data that predicted the likelihood and level of severity of our priority climate impacts: coastal flooding, inland flooding, and high-intensity winds. Offering anywhere from 10-year to 100-year return periods, the tool will allow network planners to understand the range of possible impacts to AT&T assets and align risk tolerance with the expected lifespan of those assets.
Challenges and Lessons Learned
As part of our Climate Resiliency Project, we commissioned a survey of U.S. business leaders. The results revealed that less than a third (29%) had assessed the risks of climate change to their business, and fewer than 2 in 5 (38%) said their company had a plan to respond to climate-related events.
Being the first company in the telecom industry to publicly embark on such an effort, AT&T recognizes the challenges in building resilience to climate change. Three lessons we believe are worth sharing include:
- Prioritize climate change impacts that are most relevant to your business. Every business and community has unique decision-making needs. Leveraging Argonne’s expertise, we narrowed down seemingly endless datasets to pinpoint business-relevant climate variables. The project scope focused on the Southeast, which is highly susceptible to Atlantic hurricanes, and we identified different types of flooding and high-intensity winds as our priority climate impacts.
- Consider a visualization tool with layering capabilities. Delivering maximum benefit from this project depended on having a data visualization tool that was able to integrate our asset data with Argonne’s climate datasets. The tool also needed to include, at a minimum, layering capabilities and support for topological and geological features.
- Socialize internally to help drive utilization. AT&T’s internal climate resilience team conducted a road show to educate teams around the company about the capabilities of the tool.
To help others build resilience, AT&T made the climate datasets that we use publicly available. Providing everyone – from municipalities to universities – with the opportunity to better understand the risks posed by climate change will equip communities to become more climate-resilient.
Goals and Future Plans
Our resilience work is just beginning. AT&T is exploring the potential expansion of the existing tool beyond the Southeast, and we’re looking at expanding the forecast data to include other climate change impacts such as wildfires and droughts.
AT&T is equally committed to climate change mitigation as a related strategy. We are one of the largest corporate purchasers of renewable energy in the U.S. Through our 10x Carbon Reduction Goal, we are working to enable greenhouse gas emissions savings for our customers 10x the footprint of our operations by 2025. More information about AT&T’s environmental initiatives and commitment to environmental responsibility can be found at att.com/environment.
Low-Carbon Logistics & Shipping
Our business sits at the intersection of disruptive trends – rapid urbanization, e-commerce growth and technological innovation – that are fundamentally shifting markets and everyday life. As one of the key players in the transportation sector – the largest contributor to global GHG emissions – UPS is capitalizing on this disruption to shape a future in which we minimize our environmental impacts and conserve resources for future generations.
We accept the responsibility to address our environmental impacts, including setting a goal to reduce emissions 12% across our global ground operations by 2025. Collaboration is critical to achieving this goal, so we are working with vehicle manufacturers, fuel suppliers and other partners to create more sustainable solutions across our fleet and facilities.
Leading the Charge on Fleet Electrification
UPS has been pioneering alternative vehicle solutions since the 1930s when we began using electric vehicles in our fleet. In recent years, the main barrier to large-scale uptake of electric vehicles (EV) is lack of supply – there just aren’t enough electric vehicles available for freight and delivery usage. We’re accelerating our own electrification efforts, collaborating with small and large manufacturers alike to enable more rapid adoption of a variety of EVs.
We’ve placed an order for 125 of Tesla’s fully-electric semi-trucks and, in partnership with Workhorse, we launched the first EV that rivals the cost of conventional fuel vehicles. Through an investment in EV startup Arrival, we’ve committed to purchase 10,000 EVs purpose-built to UPS’s specifications and at global scale.
But there's another side of the EV story that often gets overlooked: even if the vehicles are in place, charging infrastructure remains a challenge. To address this, we convened the Smart Electric Urban Logistics (SEUL) consortium in the UK to deploy smart-grid technology that enables simultaneous recharging of an entire fleet of electric vehicles. We nearly tripled our EV capacity from 65 to 170 vehicles based in the London center, and are evaluating opportunities to scale this technology to other facilities.
While EVs play an important role in reducing emissions and pollution from transportation, congestion can be a bigger issue in some cities. In those areas, we’re working with cities to deploy cycle logistics solutions that improve last-mile delivery in dense urban centers, with more than 30 pilot programs underway around the world.
Spurring Market Demand for Renewable Natural Gas
While EVs are currently best suited for dense urban environments, we are continuously developing lower-emission solutions for longer routes in suburban and rural areas, including replacing 40% of our fuel with alternative sources by 2025.
In 2019, we announced the largest-ever U.S. purchase of renewable natural gas (RNG), which will reduce GHG emissions across our fleet by more than 1 million metric tons. We’re also adding 6,000 trucks that run on compressed natural gas (CNG), doubling our CNG capacity. Our expansive natural gas fleet has helped catalyze the market for production of cleaner fuels as we work toward increased use of RNG.
Collaborating on a Path Forward
With more than 10,300 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles driving more than 1 million miles each business day, we’ve learned a lot about which solutions work best in different operating conditions. In short: there is no silver bullet that suits every delivery scenario. At UPS, our approach is to continue to work with vehicle manufacturers, fuel suppliers and city officials to test new solutions, scale what works, and learn from what doesn’t.
Almost daily, we are bombarded with grim news of how climate change is having a major impact on the earth and its inhabitants, coupled with dire warnings of ecological disaster in the future. The Global Carbon Project reported that CO2 emissions increased by an all-time high of nearly 3% in 2018. While it’s almost certain humans have caused climate change at this pace, we also have the power to stop it. Specifically, we need to get below the “1.5° to 2° ceiling” identified by the United Nations as the prelude to ecological disaster; and the best way to achieve that is to cut emissions of carbon and other Greenhouse Gases (GHGs).
In this new decade, optimistically described as the decade we save the earth – the good news is that through science, we know it’s possible to reduce GHG emissions and achieve the goals, provided we collectively – governments, businesses and individuals – make an effort to adapt and innovate. As more and more leaders commit to attaining carbon neutral goals by the year 2050, the vision for brighter living in the future, wherein people and nature thrive together, grows ever clearer and closer.
Royal DSM believes in doing well by doing good – since being founded more than 100 years ago as a government-owned coal company, “Dutch State Mines” has transformed into a purpose-led science-based company driving economic prosperity, environmental progress and social advances with a mission to “Do Something Meaningful”.
For over a decade we have focused on sustainability as the core element of our strategy. From producing coatings for solar glass to surgical gowns to food supplements and ingredients, we’re creating Brighter Living Solutions that have a measurably better impact on people and our planet. Nearly two-thirds of our entire portfolio comprises of our Brighter Living Solutions and accounted for 63% of our net sales in 2019. A new entry in our portfolio of Brighter Living Solutions aimed at delivering on our motto is Bovaer® .
Bovaer® is a novel feed additive for cows (and other ruminants, such as sheep, goats, and deer) researched and developed over 10 years by DSM. Just a quarter teaspoon of Bovaer per cow per day suppresses the enzyme that triggers methane production in a cow’s rumen and consistently reduces enteric methane emission by approximately 30%. It takes effect immediately and it’s safely broken down in the cow’s normal digestive system. As soon as the additive is not fed anymore, full methane production resumes and there are no lasting effects in the cow. The feed additive Bovaer therefore contributes to a significant and immediate reduction of the environmental footprint of meat, milk and dairy products.
This simple, effective feed additive has the power to deliver quick and immediate wins for combatting climate change for the planet. Methane’s warming effect is shorter lived and much more potent than carbon. So eliminating it begins to pay off right away.
At DSM we're committed to safeguarding our current and future natural resources and unlocking more value from the resources available to us. We strive to reduce finite resources and replace them with renewable ones; to reduce waste through more efficient production and recycling; and to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals by shifting to safe alternatives - not just within DSM, but across our value chain with customers, suppliers and end-consumers. It’s why at DSM, our scientists now design by the mantra of: reduce, replace, enable, extend and recover.
Energy Sector Decarbonization
NRG Energy, Inc. is an integrated power company, dual headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey and Houston, Texas. NRG brings the power of energy to its customers by producing and selling electricity and related products and services in competitive markets in the U.S. and Canada.
Composed of dynamic retail brands and generation assets, NRG provides electricity to over 3 million homes and businesses, while generating approximately 23,000 MW of electricity.
Sustainability is an integral piece of NRG's strategy and ties directly to business success, reduced risks and brand value. To guide action within our company, we developed five pillars as a framework:
- Sustainable Customers focuses on providing solutions that help our customers transition towards a clean energy future.
- Sustainable Business focuses on establishing strong leadership in governance, transparency, reporting, and stakeholder engagement.
- Sustainable Workplace involves supporting a strong, healthy, and engaged workforce as well as being a positive force in the communities in which we operate.
- Sustainable Operations centers on reducing the negative environmental impact of our operations and generation assets.
- Sustainable Suppliers represents our initiatives to address the risks and opportunities within our value chain partners.
Climate Leadership and Goal-Setting
Though NRG began its carbon-reduction initiatives over a decade ago, we formalized our commitment to decarbonization in 2014 to remain competitive and a sector leader while working to avoid the worst effects of global climate change. As part of this commitment, we established goals to reduce absolute GHG emissions 50% by 2030, and 90% by 2050, from a 2014 baseline. These goals were the first of their kind in the U.S. power sector and NRG was named one of the first 10 companies in the world to receive certification by the Science-based Targets initiative in 2015, an endorsement that our ambition aligned with the 2-degree Celsius guidelines set by the COP21 convening in Paris. By 2019, we measured significant progress across our decarbonization initiatives, achieving a 37% absolute reduction of GHG emissions and placing our progress trajectory well ahead our 2030 goal.
These goals are only as good as the best available science. In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) revised its guidance to limiting warming to a 1.5-degree Celsius scenario. As such, NRG took the step of re-evaluating our climate goals, especially given that we were on track to meet our existing targets well ahead of schedule. Once the updated trajectories were calculated and the new dates proposed, these goals were vetted within the company leadership and our Board of Directors. On September 24, 2019, we announced the acceleration of our absolute GHG reduction targets to align with the new 1.5-degree Celsius scenario. Our new goals are to reduce emissions 50% by 2025 on the way to net-zero by 2050. We’re proud to announce that we are already 83% of the way to our 2025 goal.
Achieving Incremental Carbon Reduction
Our decarbonization efforts are the result of the retirement of uneconomic units, retrofitting coal facilities to gas, running plants less frequently, or by displacing the operation of older, less- efficient units. Our path towards achieving our long-term environmental goals is to capitalize on progressive market opportunities that help us reach our net-zero goal, particularly in areas such as process development, improvements in the economics of new technologies, and the establishment of forward-thinking policy.
Communicating our Progress
Climate goals come with a litany of reporting groups, worksheets, and standards. We’re committed to best-in-class reporting principles to ensure that we’re transparently accounting for our progress in a way that’s comparable and decision-useful. We also ensure our latest environmental data is available to the broader investor community by completing CDP Climate and Water questionnaires. By leveraging leading available reporting standards like the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) table and supporting the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), we’re translating sustainability action, climate risk and opportunity, to the financial community in a way that supports long-term decision-making.
Establishing these targets was an important step for us and our sector. Adopting a climate commitment is the right thing to do, but it also places us at the forefront of an electric power transition that is customer-driven. As our stakeholders see decarbonization and electrification as key parts of their lives and their futures, it is important to establish ourselves as a partner in this transition. And we see setting science-based targets as part of the foundation of any resilient climate action plan.
Circular Plastics Production and Management
Tupperware has an important place in history when it comes to the design of durable plastic used for food storage and conservation. At the start of the plastic revolution nearly 75 years ago, Tupperware was a key player in introducing reusable, long lasting plastic in the home. From the start, these designs have been rooted in sustainability – from Earl S. Tupper’s signature seal meant to lock in freshness, to the Eco Water Bottle, meant to keep you hydrated – anywhere, anytime. Because of this history, Tupperware has a natural role in the dialogue to reduce – and eliminate – plastic and food waste.
That’s why in 2019, Tupperware decided to go back to its roots and extend it’s impact on the issue of food and plastic waste by taking monumental steps to ensure waste reduction at every step of the lifecycle of a Tupperware product. This included looking and analyzing every step of the process, design, manufacturing, distribution, consumption, recycling and recovery. Furthermore, Tupperware agreed that it would use its influence to have a voice in the future needs of a more circular economy. As such, No Time to Waste® was born. No Time to Waste is Tupperware’s vision to increase the longevity of people and planet by significantly reducing the amount of food and single-use plastic waste produced – nurturing a better future for all.
How Tupperware is Tackling Waste
Tupperware took a strategic approach to how it would tackle waste in its products from the manufacturing floor to consumers’ doorsteps. Looking at this process in a circular lens, the company centered on four key categories in which to increase impact and reduce waste – engage, design, produce and reuse.
- Partnerships: To truly impact the issue of waste, Tupperware knows it can’t do it alone. This is why in 2019 we became a signatory of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's and UNEP's New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, and partnered with World Central Kitchen, to help them reduce their single-use waste footprint when providing disaster relief by providing Tupperware® products to serve prepared meals in to those in need.
- Associates: Tupperware engaged its global associates with challenges to reduce the single-use plastic used at work and at home so that they too are stewards of the environment, by educating them on how to use and get the most out of Tupperware products and running internal awareness campaigns to embrace the No Time to Waste philosophy.
- Sales Force: As a direct-to-consumer company, Tupperware’s global Sales Force plays a vital role in helping spread the message of how to use Tupperware products for long-time reusability and explain to new and current consumers how Tupperware is making a difference.
- Material Use: Tupperware introduced ECO+ in 2019, a new first-to-market sustainable material. The first product made from this new material line was the Eco Straw – an innovatively designed reusable straw. The Eco Straw was derived from recycled circular polymers made through a process of using mixed single-use plastic waste that was destined for disposal, breaking it down to its molecular level and recreating it into a high-quality food grade plastic.
- Product Design: Waste reduction for the end-consumer and product manufacturing play a key role in Tupperware’s R&D process. All Tupperware® brand products are meant to be used again and again, reducing the single-use plastic that is heavily responsible for harming the environment and minimizing the amount of food wasted.
- Operations: Tupperware is reducing waste, increasing renewable energy and limiting the amount of water necessary in operations. Tupperware is also aiming for zero waste to landfill across all manufacturing facilities.
- Packaging: By 2025, all Tupperware products will be delivered to consumers only in packaging that is compostable or biodegradable.
- Consumption: Tupperware is committed to making products that make it easier for consumers to reduce their own waste by offering single-use plastic alternatives, as well as marketing and communication with Sales Force; Tupperware will continue to drive consumers to use products in this way.
- Recycling: Tupperware is enhancing its return process so that by 2025, 90% of returned products are recycled and repurposed.
Sustainability and a clear focus on food and plastic waste reduction continue to be an integrated part of Tupperware’s future. In 2021 and beyond, Tupperware will continue to use its strength in innovation and design to support consumer behavior change around waste while producing products in a more recycled and responsible manner. A few highlights:
- Material: Tupperware is expanding the ECO+ line and testing new innovations in the sustainability space like bio-based material.
- Design: All Tupperware products will continue to be hyper-focused on combining functional design with environmental stewardship.
- Looking ahead, Tupperware has plans to enhance its partnerships in the areas of circular economy, reusability and packaging waste reduction.
Enhancing our Goals
- Tupperware will be reviewing initiatives and goals related to No Time to Waste on an annual basis and evaluate advancement on certain priority goals.