The Future of Sustainable Business is Transparent
The idea of business transparency might seem antithetical to success and may frighten some companies. But collaborative efforts across businesses and sectors have shown that the triple-bottom-line benefits of transparency far outweigh the perceived risks. In fact, as more consumers demand proof that the products they buy fulfill the promise of the label, transparency is becoming a key differentiator that sets successful companies apart.
At Andersen, our drive to improve our processes to the benefit of our customers, employees, and cohorts is evergreen. We know that there is always more we can do to reduce our environmental impact and to bolster quality of life for our customers and communities. The global benefit of this mindset is how—through continuous improvement—we drive progress against our own sustainability goals, as well as help businesses within and outside our industry advance their own sustainability programs.
In our industry, product transparency provides detailed information that helps architects and engineers design and specify to meet the customer’s building goals. Using an integrated, science-based approach, those experts can predict how a building will perform over its life, also providing an understanding of how different products may affect that performance, for better or worse. This kind of information modeling adds a new dimension of understanding how an entire building’s function can hinge on a few fundamental design elements.
That is why we participated with industry peers in developing and publishing the fenestration industry’s first Product Category Rule, which provides the guidelines for reporting a product’s environmental impacts over its lifecycle in an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). Recently, we became the first window company to publish an EPD. We’ve also made public our intention to help combat the growing risks of climate change by signing the Ceres Climate Declaration and by setting measurable sustainability goals for the company to meet by 2020.
Transparency in business can seem intimidating at first. There’s a sense of vulnerability woven into the idea of revealing more about the products your company makes—whether customers will still want them, whether competitors will find something they could leverage to their gain, whether you have to change how you do business.
The only path to a more sustainable future is through the collaboration made possible with product transparency today. Transparency will become the operating norm, faster than you may think. The best way to stay ahead of this trend is to embrace it with authenticity, commitment, and accountability.
Eliza Clark is Director of Sustainability at Andersen Corporation.
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