Sustainability. Energy efficiency. Green building. All buzz words that are now a part of our daily conversations. Yet do people really know what they mean? More importantly, why is business rallying around sustainability and being "green"?
From our point of view, the practice of sustainability focuses on providing the best outcomes for the human and natural environments, now and into the future. This concept, or practice, serves as the cornerstone for Business Roundtable's S.E.E. Change (Social, Environment and the Economy) Initiative and represents how our member companies and other businesses can "do well by doing good." Through S.E.E. Change, we're focusing on high-priority environmental and social challenges, such as enhancing water conservation and quality, using energy more efficiently, increasing transportation mobility and helping eradicate disease and poverty.
To date, 31 Roundtable members are a part of the S.E.E. Change program. One of those companies, The McGraw-Hill Companies, is a great example of how organizations can pursue business strategies that combine traditional corporate goals with a strong commitment to environmental stewardship and social improvement.
The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading provider of global information services - with assets that include Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek, and J.D. Power and Associates.
But what does all of this mean for sustainability? The McGraw-Hill Companies has a division solely designed to serve as a provider of construction information and intelligence to the $4.6 trillion global construction industry. And you can't talk about construction these days without talking about the significant efforts going into what we refer to as "green buildings."
As we know, construction is a resource-heavy industry responsible for a great deal of greenhouse gas emissions and waste output.
McGraw-Hill Construction (MHC) is helping to drive change in the construction industry by leveraging its expertise in green buildings. MHC understands the shift to greener buildings and homes can have significant environmental benefits, as well as cost savings.
McGraw-Hill Construction is leveraging its leadership position in the construction industry to develop a "green marketplace" through a host of their products and services. This multi-media marketplace offers companies resources to help them stay on top of developments and products in the green building industry. A few tools include,
GreenSource, The Magazine of Sustainable Design and online portal for green building news and information; green buildings market research and analysis, available in the
green building SmartMarket™ Reports covering topics ranging from corporate America's involvement in sustainability to green market trends and information in the commercial and residential construction sectors; and partnerships with external stakeholders, like the
U.S. Green Building Council.
This is just one example of The McGraw-Hill Companies' commitment to sustainability. Earlier this month, the company opened a new environmentally-friendly office building for 400 of its McGraw-Hill Education employees in Dubuque, IA, that incorporates a number of eco-friendly features, including preferred parking for hybrid vehicles, a white roof to reduce absorption of solar heat, plumbing fixtures that reduce water consumption by 30 percent, and HVAC and mechanical equipment designed and installed to optimize energy efficiency. The company also has launched a Green Team initiative to encourage employee involvement in the corporation's efforts to reduce its waste stream.
As this illustrates, S.E.E. Change companies are leading the way to make "green" and "sustainability" actionable items with results, not just trendy "it" phrases part of daily dialogue.