Speed Dating with Bloomberg

On day two of a recent Bloomberg Sustainability Summit in New York, companies gave fast but concise reasons for going sustainable.

They talked about how, when and outcomes. While many admitted to challenges, the path is clear. Sustainability is a key component in staying competitive, promoting innovation, lowering costs and attracting the Millennials who expect employers to have ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) practices in place. Take a look at the summaries below, then check out the videos.

Satisfying Customer Demands

Andreas Fibig
Chairman and CEO, International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF)

In 2012, IFF adopted the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry as an important differentiator in product design and development. Mr. Fibig remarked that their customers, such as Estee Lauder, are being driven by their customer's demands for sustainable certifications. Meeting those needs has lead to innovations such as 'cradle to cradle' technologies that reuse materials at the end of life.

Beyond Sustainability: Human Rights

I. Javette Hines
Director, Head of Supply Chain Development, Inclusion and Sustainability, Citi

For large financial institutions, evaluating small companies  in developing nations, in order to business with them, is an on-going task. The third party risks are higher, but so are the potential benefits. Since there is likely to be less access to data, there is a need to educate, developing partnership locally, and collaborating with financial partners, like Bank of America, that may have experiences in similar situations

Competitive Edge

Jay Gould
President and CEO, Interface, Inc.

Interface is a carpet company facing challenges from much larger companies. As Mr. Gould said, "As a relatively small company we have to lead the way." The company is now creating new products that are not just carbon neutral, but that act as a carbon sink, acting as a carbon reservoir. They are also creating products from waste, such as industrial carpeting that reuses fishing nets.

Evaluating Impact

Laura Gitman
Senior Vice President, BSR

BSR works with companies to help manage a world that is rapidly changing, as 'future proofing' supply chains is critically important.  As an example, pharmaceuticals literally could not get products and people out of Puerto Rico after Maria, an unexpected and unprecedented disaster. While carbon reduction is one metric, there is a need to focus on other areas such as waste water, real time energy use as well as what employees are thinking. One goal is streamlining a process, so that vendors that work with multiple clients can share experiences. Ms. Gitman added, "a 5% difference is a lot of impact."

Product Reliability

Patrick Flynn
Senior Director of Sustainability, Salesforce

For Salesforce, "downtime" is simply not an option. Energy must be 24/7/364, but also steady and 'clean', which means a consistent output curve that will not adversely affect complex data systems. By keeping an eye on energy efficiency and maintaining state-of-the-art server efficiency, their servers run more efficiently -- and reliably -- than the industry standard. It matters to Salesforce, and to their customers, who are asking if Salesforce is "still all in".

Navigating local demands and cultures

Diana A. Blankman
Senior Director, U.S. Corporate Giving & Social Impact, Novo Nordisk Inc.

Diabetes, a focus of Novo Nordisk for over 90 years, is a global problem with local challenges that affect outcomes. Managing a diverse patient base has lead to innovation through local mini think tanks, area specific call centers, and inclusion training to get to unconscious biases. Their diversity focus has paid off in keeping their leadership in diabetes care.

Working with Resource Extraction

Jean-François (JF) Poupeau
Executive Vice President Corporate Engagement, Schlumberger Limited

As the world's leading provider of technology for the oil and gas industry, Schlumberger is dependent on reputational excellence to get a 'green light' to go forward with projects. Meeting this high standard, the company recruits and invests in local vendors, raising the bar for performance. Working with stakeholders -- government, community, regulators and customers -- raises awareness of what is capable of happening, which leads to innovative solutions that address local concerns. Mr. Poupeau added, "People are very smart when posed with a challenge. Let innovation run it’s course!"

Managing Reputation

Krystal Barnes
SVP, Global Responsibility and Sustainability, Nielsen

As a global leader in research, Nielsen's integrity is the bedrock on which their reputation stands. Across across a very wide range of topics and locales, the company has developed training programs as well as employee practices and standards that promote the transparency that their clients demand. The CEO presents the Board with an ESG scorecard, because progress is material to company's shareholders, clients and employees.

Using Digital Solutions to Drive Supply Chain Sustainability

James Murphy
Executive Vice President, Worldwide Sales & Marketing, Seagate Technology, Ltd.

New Digital technologies enable companies to see and test products before they reach the customers. Using Virtual Reality, engineers can collaborate, developing new products across disparate locations. Working with multiple vendors, Seagate is able to ask key questions, such as how vendors are lowering carbon, managing their service load while managing costs. For Mr. Murphy, efficiency has important socially conscious outcomes.

Maintaining Ethical Workplace Standards

Faith Taylor
Senior Vice President & Global Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, Wyndham Worldwide

With a huge workforce in countries around the world, Wyndham Worldwide works with diverse owners to maintain standards. "Slavery acts global," Ms. Taylor remarked. Developing key performance indicators in countries like India, South Africa and China means continual research into how they are performing, and where are the gaps. Even when recruiting, the company seeks people who want to take a leadership role.

SASB Standards: Shifting the Focus to Implementation

Janine Guillot
Director of Capital Markets Policy and Outreach at SASB (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board)

SASB's focus is on defining what is material: what could affect company performance in the long term. In the broader concept, such meaurement lead to the kind of transparency that promotes stable economies and efficient markets around the world. Largely "preaching to the choir", many of the companies in attendance want standardized metrics to answer questions already being asked by boards of directors and large institutional investors.

Implementation: Early Adoption

Robin Hayes, CEO, JetBlue

Jet Blue was one of the first to adopt SASB standards. “We admit we emit,” Mr. Hayes said. "No point in avoiding risk assessment, because it will find you.” While environmental, social and governance issues were focused on values five years ago, today he it driving risk and return. This is a sea change, driven by investors seeking a common language for performance. How to decide what indicators to disclose rests with company, but SASB standards are an important tool for management in deciding what material issues to disclose.

Leading in an era of President Trump

Raymond Long, National State & Federal Government Affairs, NRG Energy

NRG  owns one of the nation's largest and most diverse competitive power generation portfolio. Mr. Long believes the future is in clean, reliable energy that is price competitive. The key is demand side management (energy efficiency), storage and very fast start natural gas that is able to come on line in 10 minutes to make up for low output from renewable sources. The administration's roll back of regulations on coal and nuclear power has left FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) to "run with that ball" on pricing reform, which could be good or bad news.


Carla Hunter Ramsey
Global Sr. Director SC - Corporate Social Responsibility, National Grid

National Grid is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world. They are a signatory to the CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project), which evaluates carbon by spend. However, National Grid also monitors their top 250 suppliers, many in countries or commodities affected by slavery. National Grid provides internal training for buying teams, in order to ensure bringing a qualified supplier to table. Since "What gets measured gets counted" as Ms. Ramsey said, they do supply chain mapping along with updating polices, especially for the RFP (Request for Proposal) process.