ERP Manufacturing Insights

U.S. Manufacturers Demanding Action Against Climate Change

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Us manufacturers demanding action against climate change

The scientific consensus on climate change, as articulated by a UN report, is that there’s just over a decade left to prevent catastrophic and irreversible damage as the Earth’s climate warms. That means that taking aggressive action against environmental disaster is no longer a matter of taking a side — it’s a matter of working together to ensure that future generations have a habitable planet to live on. With the scientific realities increasingly clear, businesses that haven’t always been enthusiastic about change are suddenly waking up to its necessity. 

The narrative most people know is that corporations are reluctant to change their practices to become more sustainable. But corporate power has actually started to put its weight behind environmental advocacy, as many business leaders accept and embrace the real need to preserve the planet’s health. These five U.S. manufacturers are using their positions as giants of the industry to call for real action against climate change, as well as to take on the challenge themselves. 

Manufacturing erp actions against climate change
Working together to ensure that future generations have a habitable planet

DuPont

DuPont and its subsidiaries, Dow and Corteva, are among the world’s largest manufacturers of chemical and agricultural products. Fortunately, they’re taking an aggressive role in building the future of climate action. DuPont recently joined an alliance of manufacturing leaders and environmental groups to lobby Congress for a carbon tax. In addition, DuPont is a powerhouse in B2B sales of industrial products and chemical precursors, and they’re stepping up in their role as an industry leader by increasing funding for renewable energy technologies. For renewables to succeed, they have to be economically viable first, and DuPont is doing their part to ensure that the technologies have the scalability and economic muscle for widespread adoption. 

Ford Motor Co.

Twenty years ago, Ford was one of the first companies to publish a sustainability report. With climate change becoming an increasingly urgent problem, the auto manufacturer has continued to press the gas on sustainability initiatives, joining DuPont’s lobbying effort for a carbon tax and putting out an aggressive sustainability plan. Their targets include using 100 percent renewable energy in every manufacturing plant by 2035, a purpose-built hybrid autonomous vehicle on the market by 2021 and an $11 billion global investment in electrified vehicles by 2022. What’s more, using the planning functions of their sophisticated manufacturing ERP software, Ford has mapped out a variety of future scenarios for levels of climate change and technological advancement. Thus, whatever climate scenario lies on the horizon, Ford has positioned itself to be at the forefront of technological solutions. 

Owens-Corning

Building materials giant Owens-Corning is well into implementing their plan for the future of green building, making big commitments and seeing even bigger results. They invested the R&D dollars to create a more eco-friendly foam insulation material, and the results were so good that they blew past their 2020 target of 20 percent emissions reductions six years early. Now, it’s onward and upward. They’ve revised their target to 50 percent emissions reduction, but they’ve also taken the key step of developing new green building standards. In 2018, Owens-Corning built over 400 homes that are net zero energy-ready, and their Building Science Solution Center is continuing to partner with builders to develop new technologies for greener homes. 

Corporations supporting climate action manufacturing erp
Manufacturing corporations can come together for the greater good

Apple

The world’s largest electronics company has leveraged its famous tech-savvy and near-unlimited resources to unveil an impressive array of green projects. Their retail stores, offices and other internal locations are 100 percent powered by renewable energy, and they recently announced that they doubled the amount of manufacturing partners powered by renewable energy to 44 in only a year. On top of that, they’ve spread the wealth around by issuing $1.5 billion in green bonds to power environmental projects around the world, making it clear that they intend to use every resource in their considerable arsenal to foster a healthy planet. 

Patagonia

It makes sense that an outdoor gear company would want to protect people’s ability to enjoy the outdoors, but Patagonia’s commitment famously goes far beyond profits, to the vision of their outdoorsman founder. Patagonia is famous for putting their money where their mouth is: They donated the entirety of their $10 million windfall profits from the Trump administration’s 2018 tax cuts to groups fighting for climate change awareness, and their 1% for the Planet” initiative has donated over $200 million to environmental projects around the world. Finally, Patagonia has even done something that might seem unthinkable: run a full-page ad in the New York Times on Black Friday asking shoppers not to buy their jackets to encourage lower consumption. 

Climate action matters
The Earth’s climate problem is an all-hands situation

What can businesses learn from these companies’ commitment to the environment?

A few takeaways to consider:

  1. Technological investment is key for creating tomorrow’s climate solutions. Even if a business can’t invest in large-scale green tech right away, getting on board with next-generation information systems such as cloud-based ERP platforms or distribution software can make a big difference in allocating resources more sustainably.
  2. Solutions work better when they involve all relevant stakeholders. Only by creating partnerships between employees, management, investors, regulators, and end-users can corporations generate the mass buy-in necessary for scalable climate solutions.
  3. Every little bit helps. The businesses on this list can leverage their large scale and resources to quickly effect change, but not everyone has those resources available. Sustainability isn’t an overnight transformation — so if small steps are what’s realistic, they’re much better than doing nothing. For businesses that don’t have a realistic path to short-term sustainability change, donating some profits to an environmental organization is a good start. 

The Earth’s climate problem is an all-hands situation. It will require the combined efforts of activists, governments, ordinary citizens and corporate leaders. Fortunately, many of the world’s biggest businesses are now focusing their considerable resources on climate action. As the most powerful names in global commerce and industry start to leverage their powers, they’re hoping that their example inspires a true spirit of cooperation that will enable the humans of planet Earth to come together to protect their most valuable resource. 

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