By Jim Weglewski
A signature seals a deal, backs a promise and commits you to action. Whether signing a receipt at a restaurant or closing on the mortgage of a new home, your signature is your bond. The commitment and responsibility connoted by a signature has been on the forefront of my mind as my company, Andersen Corp., recently signed on to the Climate Declaration.
Ceres created the Climate Declaration in 2013 as a way to accelerate the adoption of sustainable business practices in order to build a healthy global economy. Since then, more than 1,250 companies have signed on to show their support and belief that climate change is both the greatest challenge, and greatest opportunity, of our era.
In consideration of the broad-based acceptance of recent International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) reports, and increasing evidence of current climate change impacts, Andersen is proud to join the ranks of leading companies that recognize the need for collaborative commitment as a powerful force of change in the face of deeply entrenched challenges.
Our commitment doesn’t end on the signature line. As a manufacturer of windows and doors, it is our responsibility to produce durable, energy efficient products that help our customers reduce energy consumption, lower utility costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
As a founding member of the U.S. Green Building Council, we've had a front-row seat to the amazing progress that can be achieved when multiple stakeholders sign on the dotted line and commit to solving complex challenges with a systems approach. As of October 2014, more than 3.3 billion square feet of building space were LEED certified. This achievement was only possible because leading businesses came together to drive change with measurable results.
But there is more work to be done. Buildings are still responsible for a significant proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, residential and commercial buildings were responsible for 40 percent of U.S. energy consumption in 2013 – a figure that does not include the energy impacts associated with manufacturing, transporting or disposing of building products.
We are now faced with the challenge, and opportunity, of expanding access to green building strategies and products across all new construction and existing buildings. Net-zero buildings are now a reality, but only for a small, luxury segment of the market. Adding our signature to this declaration affirms our responsibility to provide durable, energy efficient products that are part of the solution.
Our signature also signifies a renewed commitment to “walk the talk” in our own operations. In support of that responsibility, Andersen has announced new corporate sustainability goals, committing to reducing solid waste, energy and water use by 20 percent per unit of product by 2020, using 2013 as a baseline.
We will also continue to collaborate with business leaders, governments and NGOs outside the building industry. It’s time we applied a “whole community” approach to advancing innovative solutions to systemic challenges.
Signing the Ceres Environmental Declaration is not a hollow gesture – for Andersen or the more than 1,250 companies that have also signed it. It not only carries commitment and responsibility, but also the promise of an era of prosperity and sustainable growth for leaders in all industries. We are ready to welcome you to the ranks – join us today.
Jim Weglewski is vice president of Corporate Quality, Sustainability and Facilities for Andersen Corporation.