EPA Honors Companies for Fighting Climate Change

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Center for Corporate Climate Leadership hosted the second annual Climate Leadership Awards, recognizing 23 organizations for their leadership in reducing carbon pollution and addressing climate change.

Awards were given out in five categories: Organizational Leadership, Individual Leadership, Supply Chain Leadership, Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management (Goal Achievement) and Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management (Goal Setting).

Among the recipients of this year's awards was Cisco Systems. The San Jose, Calif.-based networking equipment company was recognized by the EPA for Supply Chain Leadership.

Every year since 2010, Cisco's Vice President of Supply Chain Operations has sent a letter to the company's suppliers with a request that they report their carbon emissions and management practices to the Carbon Disclosure Project. The company rewards its most sustainable suppliers with an annual "Excellence in Sustainability" award while working with its underperforming suppliers to improve performance.

"Cisco set and recently met aggressive goals for its own corporate GHG emissions, and we expect our suppliers to meet the same high environmental standards we apply to our own operations," wrote Edna Conway, Cisco's Chief Security Strategist with the company's global supply chain, in a blog post. "We work closely with them to manage sustainability issues and improve performance at every stage of the life cycle of our products."

Cisco is also an exemplary supplier in its own right, having recently been recognized by AT&T for providing networking technology that has helped the telecommunications company keep up with skyrocketing data demand.

The EPA presented the awards along with the Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO), the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and The Climate Registry, three nonprofits that have demonstrated expertise in GHG emissions management.

"The 2013 Climate Leadership Award winners are leading the way on integrating climate response into their organizational culture," said Daniel Kreeger, executive director of ACCO. "The winners are not only exemplary corporate, organizational, and individual leaders, but their actions provide a blueprint to catalyze the efforts of other organizations and individuals."

Racine, Wis.-based SC Johnson & Son was received the Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management (Goal Setting Certificate) award. SC Johnson has made a broad range of commitments to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions across its operations.

"As a family company, we're committed to doing what's right for people and the planet, and we believe that to make an impact, you have to set measurable goals," said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. "In addition to the 27 percent reduction we've achieved versus our 2005 U.S. baseline, we will continue to raise the bar and hold ourselves accountable. By 2016, we plan to further reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 7 percent absolute reduction, and we're honored to be recognized for setting this goal."

The company has been rushing to install wind turbines at several of its manufacturing locations. Its Waxdale facility in Mount Pleasant, Wis., for example, which makes products like Windex, Glade, and Scrubbing Bubbles, now produces an average of 100 percent of its electricity onsite.

Among the recipients of the Organizational Leadership Award was Intel Corporation. The world's largest microchip manufacturer was recognized for managing and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in its internal operations. In 2011, for example, Intel purchased 85 percent of its U.S. electricity from renewable sources, up from 50 percent in 2008.

"After a year of record heat and drought, action on climate change and clean energy is more urgent than ever," Eileen Claussen, President of C2ES, which was formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

"We join EPA in applauding the winners of the Climate Leadership Awards," she continued. "These companies, organizations, and individuals demonstrate every day the possibility of a prosperous low-carbon future. Hopefully, their accomplishments will spur and challenge others to take steps that are good for both the economy and the environment."

Image credit: mccready, Flickr