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Making Environmental Stewardship a Priority for Business

5 minute read
Wendy Rentschler

Every April, we celebrate Earth Day, and this year, BMC is taking it a step further with a whole month of activities for our inaugural Climate Action Month. And we’re not alone. More and more companies are doubling down on sustainability by putting their money and muscle behind it.

How much money? How about $120 trillion? That’s the size of the asset portfolio managed by investors who have committed to focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations when investing by signing the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. On top of that, a coalition of 60+ business leaders has aligned with the Big Four accounting firms to support the World Economic Forum (WEF) and International Business Council (IBC) set of 57 Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics and disclosures intended to hold companies accountable to their ESG commitments.

New technologies are helping

Beyond investment decisions, the tech sector is also helping the environment through emerging technologies. A report from the European Environmental Agency credits digital technologies with streamlining waste management processes on the continent through the use of automation, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, cloud computing, and analytics.

And Accenture takes it further. According to its research, by migrating to the public cloud, companies can yield total cost of ownership (TCO) savings of 30 to 40 percent and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 59 million tons (or 22 million cars’ worth)—per year. That’s a great step toward the climate neutrality goal of the EU’s Green Deal, which seeks to eliminate net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050, separate economic growth from resource use, and create inclusive opportunities for everyone. A quarter of the €750 billion fund is dedicated to climate action.

Room for improvement and how BMC is helping

While those are awesome endeavors, they’re a piece of a much larger puzzle, and there’s still much work to be done. The United Nations has 17 Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) that are the “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030.” The UN SDGs focus on preserving land, water, and air, and the biodiversity they sustain. At BMC, our corporate social responsibility (CSR) work is rooted in helping to solve the issues raised in the UN SDGs. We do this while also fostering innovation to help businesses and ourselves evolve to an Autonomous Digital Enterprise that includes everyone.

Minimizing or reversing the environmental damage inflicted by humans spans many of the UN SDGs. One of those areas, climate change, has spawned significant weather events such as wildfires, increased hurricane activity, warmer oceans, extraordinary winter storms, and more that have impacted people and wildlife.

IQAir’s 2020 World Air Quality Report found that 65 percent of cities around the world had better air quality in 2020 versus 2019, while 84 percent of nations reported better overall air quality—those improvements attributable to fewer people out in the world due to pandemic restrictions. According to the 2021 report, some of those gains eroded as lockdowns were lifted. Companies that are now evaluating whether, when, how—and how often—their people return, can make a positive environmental impact by adopting full-time remote or hybrid arrangements.

Goal 15 of the UN SDGs is to, “Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss,” and BMC is proud to work with Reforest’Action, One Tree Planted, GreenThumb, and Vashundara in their mission to do that. To date, we’ve helped plant over 44,000 trees across 38 countries around the world to store tons of carbon dioxide, create tens of thousands of animal shelters, and generate over 40,000 months of oxygen.

Humans also generate a ton of waste, from electronics to plastics, and now personal protective equipment (PPE). Think of all those devices we carry. They’ve generated 38 percent more electronic waste over the last decade, and only 20 percent of that waste is recycled. Our waterways are also threatened. During the pandemic, PPE began showing up in our oceans and threatening our wildlife.

According to the Ocean Conservancy report, Pandemic Pollution: The Rising Tide of Plastic, 107,219 face masks, gloves, wipes, and shields were recovered from beaches and waterways worldwide in the second half of 2020. That’s in addition to the already-toxic problem of plastics, which enter the world’s waters every year to the tune of 17.6 billion pounds (8 billion kg) a year. BMC is committed to recycling our equipment whenever possible and we encourage our people to do the same. We also advocate for our employees to volunteer with the Ocean Conservancy to help clean up waterways.

BMC’s commitment

As part of our commitment to the environment, BMC is dedicated to achieving science-based, emission reduction targets across our business to reach net-zero value chain emissions no later than 2030. BMC is also participating in the Business Ambition for 1.5° C campaign and is a proud member of the UN Global Compact, which established the campaign alongside the Climate Disclosure Project (CDP), the World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) under the umbrella of the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) partnership.

We also maintain Global Accreditation for ISO 14001:2015, a guideline for our environmental management system policies and practices. We are committed to doing everything we can to:

  • Reduce levels of energy consumption from electricity, gas, and other fossil fuels
  • Reduce consumables use with recycling of equipment, waste products, and redundant items (which we often collect and redistribute through device drives)
  • Use, store, control, and dispose of waste properly, including responsible disposal of hazardous materials in line with best environmental practices
  • Purchase items produced from sustainable sources, and continually seek services, equipment, and power providers that are committed to environmental protection
  • Reduce travel impact through collaborative technologies, and record and analyze data to best manage our carbon footprint when we do travel
  • Prevent and reduce our use of substances and processes that adversely affect the environment

As we navigate our workforce’s return to the office, we’re investigating opportunities to renew and expand on our commitment to be a sustainable, environmentally responsible organization, and we encourage our people to do so as well through our BMC Cares volunteer organization.

Get involved

So, for Climate Action Month, Earth Day, and all the other days, what can you do to help? We’re so glad you asked! These are some of the environmentally responsible activities we’re encouraging among ourselves, and hope you’ll join in, too.

  • Check out our handy Climate Action Month calendar of activities with tips and tricks on how to do one thing to help the environment every day
  • Learn how your organization can align its ESG and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives with the UN Sustainable Goals
  • Take a LinkedIn Learning course on sustainability
  • Recycle old batteries
  • Discover how to extend the life of your clothes through proper and sustainable care
  • Support wildlife conservation efforts from your PC by reviewing live video feeds to look for and identify animals with ZSL Instant Wild
  • Dig out your old phones and donate them to Medic Mobile, which refreshes them and puts them in the hands of first responders
  • Donate your old PCs to Comp-U-Dopt so they can give them to students who need them
  • Download the CleanSwell app and volunteer to help pick up trash along local waterways
  • Consider plant-based meal swaps

It’s vital to take care of the environment in which we coexist. We can all make a difference. Visit earthday.org and follow the United Nations Environment Programme on Twitter to learn more.

 

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These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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About the author

Wendy Rentschler

Wendy is the head of Corporate Social Responsibility at BMC, where she champions equity & inclusion through programming where people can thrive, feel heard, and do some of the best work of their lives. Her mantra: Gratitude is free.