Bloomberg Sustainability: Bloomberg’s Growth Tracking Method Helps Businesses Create Financially Sustainable Futures
By Lee Ballin
Issue 10 Winter 2012
The business landscape is moving towards a low carbon economy that will need to consider sustainability and dwindling natural resources in addition to maintaining profit margins. This shift in dynamics will affect a company’s financial viability, operating structure and product development cycles. Bloomberg has developed their own internal corporate sustainability program making sustainable business practices an integral part of their culture and their business, leveraging their core expertise of providing actionable information to propel change. By collecting sustainability information and metrics and putting environmental concerns into context, Bloomberg demonstrates to investors how sustainable business strategies might affect the bottom line for businesses all around the world. A leading provider of independent analysis, data and news on the clean energy and carbon markets, Bloomberg is leveraging its role in the marketplace and is capable of guiding the market towards making sustainable decisions that are based on objective facts as well as quantifiable goals by providing both the corporations and investors a growth tracking method. It is this unique capability and knowledge that will help guide businesses towards sustainable success in the 21st Century.
The way companies are doing business is changing. Corporations are looking at new ways to maintain their profit margin, stay relevant, and be sustainable as the global economy transforms itself in the 21st century. The corporate community is moving beyond traditional corporate social responsibility and the arc of sustainability has evolved as raised expectations are pioneering new paths for organizations.
In the past, businesses focused on limiting damage to the environment and collaborated with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), receiving a ‘license to operate’ for non-polluting business activity. Over time the NGO community has pushed the private sector further, asking companies to look internally at their own operations. These efforts have resulted in the development of internal sustainability programs promoting the adoption of energy-efficiency projects, waste management, and recycling efforts, as well as employee engagement programs aimed to educate them on how to reduce their personal environmental impacts—both at work and at home.
Bloomberg considers itself a progressive company—always looking to be at the forefront of emerging trends, so in 2006 when many of our largest customers were asking us what we were doing to reduce our environmental impact, Curtis Ravenel, now the Global Head of Sustainability, proposed the creation of an internal corporate sustainability program. Two years later, Bloomberg’s program launched with a target to reduce our carbon footprint 50 percent by 2013. Since then, sustainable business practices have become an integral part of our culture and our business. We have a full-time group managing the day-to-day environmental risks and cost-saving opportunities. Together, with a global network of employees to help in our efforts, we are on track to achieve our goal nearly two years ahead of schedule and have saved over $35 million, avoided 77 million kWh of electricity use, and diverted nearly 60 percent of our annual waste from landfills.
As the world shifts to a low carbon economy, it requires focus beyond traditional financial analysis to also include social impact and environmental management
—not just to address these risks, but to also understand how to use these issues as a source of innovation and opportunity—all of which, for many mainstream investors, is a new concept. A low carbon economy is one where companies, municipalities, and countries minimize their output of greenhouse gases, specifically carbon dioxide, but in addition to minimizing carbon, companies will be forced to consider dwindling natural resources including water, timber, and precious metals. These shifting dynamics will affect a company’s financial viability, operating structure and product development cycles.
The capability to thrive in the transition towards a low carbon economy as well as addressing how capital markets evaluate and reward those actions are the challenges we face today. A comprehensive sustainable strategy, when done holistically, enhances the entire value chain. Additionally, responsibly-minded improvements in operating structure reduces costs, improve employee retention, reduce waste and increase efficiency.
Organizations need to evaluate how to leverage their core expertise in order to create opportunity while propelling change.
In response to this need, Bloomberg has begun integrating company environmental, social, and governance data into our equity product, collecting sustainability information and metrics so that our customers can analyze the impact their investments may have on carbon and energy.
Bloomberg puts environmental concerns into context so that investors can quickly see how sustainable business strategies might affect the bottom line for businesses all around the world.
Our comprehensive coverage of the energy markets includes news, pricing, history, statistics, research, and analytics on oil, petrochemical, gas, electricity, coal, emissions, and alternative energy. Additionally, in late 2009 we completed the acquisition of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the leading provider of independent analysis, data and news in the clean energy and carbon markets. We envision our company as a leader in emerging environmental markets and through our experience hope to help organizations gain acceptance among investors by providing actionable information such as news, data, and analytical tools.
As the world’s most trusted source of data, news and technology for businesses and financial professionals, Bloomberg has the opportunity to capitalize on our core competencies by developing products and services that focus on sustainability. Our company was founded on the basis of providing customers with unprecedented access to information and an increased ability to act on it. This approach has transformed the securities industry globally—leveling the playing field between buyers and sellers as well as reducing costs, increasing participation, democratizing access through transparency and greatly improving liquidity along the way—making markets more efficient. Collecting sustainability information and metrics is consistent with our promise to constantly innovate and provide to our customers a unique insight into current and future product offerings.
Bloomberg is capable of guiding the market towards making sustainable decisions that are based on objective facts as well as quantifiable goals by providing both the corporations and investors a growth tracking method. By tracking sustainable data and measuring it, Bloomberg leverages its role in the marketplace. It is this unique capability and knowledge that will help guide businesses towards sustainable success in the 21st Century.
Bloomberg’s commitment to sustainability is comprehensive, as outlined in our report. We are combining corporate citizenship, risk management and strategic opportunity to reduce operating costs, grow revenue and create greater awareness amongst our employees, customers and vendors in setting standards, promoting clean technologies and reducing the use of natural resources.
Our interconnected and fast-paced world is in need of strategic systems and tools that can enable open communication across the board. These will help to get rid of the endless barriers that are stopping real innovation; and making decisions in a responsible, competitive, and cost-effective manner.
Sustainability encompasses much more than “being green”
STRATEGIES IN ACTION:
Walk the talk at every possible level
Transparency of information calls for real problem-solving analysis
Apply a comprehensive sustainable strategy to enhance your entire value chain
Be competitive by moving beyond traditional financial analysis
Think ahead of the curve: start shaping yourself as a real 21st century leader
About the Author:
Lee Ballin is a team member with Bloomberg’s Sustainability group. The initiative is a Chairman’s Office effort and was started in September 2006. The program aggressively integrates sustainability considerations into all operations and leverages the product to evaluate sustainability market risks and opportunities. Lee is responsible for coordinating sustainability efforts within Bloomberg’s supply chain as well as all of Bloomberg’s internal and external sustainability communications. Prior to his current role, he worked in Bloomberg’s purchasing department as a member of the energy procurement team. Ballin holds a bachelor’s degree in business logistics from Pennsylvania State University Park and a Master’s degree from New York University’s Stern School of Business with a focus on finance and sustainability.
To learn more about Bloomberg and the business case behind our sustainability efforts please check out our recently released sustainability report.