Effectively Communicate Corporate Responsibility with Stakeholders
For any company—large or small, public or private—corporate responsibility programs are an increasingly important component of a company’s long-term strategy. Communicating program goals, action plans and progress is essential whether it’s directed to shareholders, boards of directors, employees or customers. As companies work to define and manage their corporate responsibility programs, environmental sustainability and carbon reporting are often core areas of focus.
Pitney Bowes, a global provider of mail processing equipment, software, hardware and integrated mail solutions, has 390 locations across the U.S. and additional locations in more than 100 countries worldwide. At the heart of their operations is their corporate social responsibility program. “Corporate responsibility is integral to all that we do. It is embedded in our operations, the innovations we develop, our focus on helping our clients succeed, and the programs and policies that enable our employees worldwide to be their best,” said Marc Lautenbach, President and CEO. “For more than 90 years, the employees of Pitney Bowes have understood that the best way to provide value for our stakeholders is by staying true to our core values.”
A mix of internal and external reports have helped Pitney Bowes measure, support and publically disclose their commitment towards continuous energy efficiency and corporate responsibility. Beginning in 2008, the company took its first step towards public disclosure with a response to the annual CDP, (formerly known as Carbon Disclosure Project) questionnaire. CDP uses information collected via this questionnaire to evaluate corporations based on their business strategies pertaining to climate change risks and opportunities. This information is used by a mix of stakeholders—including investors, industry peers, and reporting agencies such as Bloomberg, Google Financial, and Newsweek—as an indicator of corporate management strength and vitality.
Today Pitney Bowes is one of more than 3,000 companies who respond to CDP’s annual Investor questionnaire and puts them in the company of 366 of the Fortune 500 companies who also respond. To ensure accuracy and consistency of this information, Ecova supports efficient execution of this reporting on behalf of Pitney Bowes’ domestic and international sites. But it wasn’t always this simple.
The team responsible for evaluating and identifying opportunities to improve energy and operational efficiency is Pitney Bowes cross functional Energy Task Force (ETF).
“We were hearing regularly from investors, customers and potential customers that they wanted to know what we were doing around environmental responsibility,” said John Thaler, Director of Environmental Health and Safety for Pitney Bowes. “We wanted to be able to address the diverse questions of our knowledgeable and engaged stakeholder base.”
It was at this time that Pitney Bowes first elected to respond to the CDP’s annual questionnaire, providing them the opportunity to:
- Increase transparency to shareholders, employees, customers and the public
- Identify risks and business opportunities to help inform business strategies
- Gain visibility into how they are performing against peers
Collecting, measuring, tracking and reporting greenhouse gas emissions to CDP on behalf of their global portfolio had been a laborious task. For the first few years of reporting, the ETF team used a manual and time-intensive process of collecting raw energy data from hundreds of sites on spreadsheets, and then worked to convert the data to carbon dioxide equivalents. This process became even more cumbersome for global sites that entered their data in different units of measurement, which had to undergo multiple calculations and conversions. Pitney Bowes third party verification partner indicated room for improvement, specifically the need for consistency in how data was captured, calculated and reported.
It was at that time the Pitney Bowes turned to Ecova, with whom they had already established a relationship as their partner of choice for domestic utility expense management. The extended partnership provided Pitney Bowes support in developing their verifiable greenhouse gas inventory. Ecova’s online reporting platform tracks and monitors facility-level consumption and carbon data for all sites under management. For Pitney Bowes, this included the vast majority of the company’s domestic sites. The team worked to further consolidate Pitney Bowes domestic sites to bring more of its portfolio under Ecova’s management. The remaining data needed for calculations was gathered by the team in a consistent and efficient manner. By merging these historically disparate data sets, Ecova completed Pitney Bowes’ verifiable international greenhouse gas inventory.
Pitney Bowes’ carbon management partnership with Ecova continues to produce year-on-year efficiencies proving to be a progressive step in Pitney Bowes corporate responsibility program that continues to evolve.
“Having a company like Ecova manage the data for us has created consistency in how it is captured, calculated and reported; their tools made it a simple process,” said Thaler. “After reviewing Ecova’s methodology and calculations, they were very impressed.”
As one of eight accredited CDP carbon calculation partners, Ecova was well positioned to provide this additional expertise to Pitney Bowes EFT team to better identify, reduce and report on their annual emissions. Looking ahead, Pitney Bowes continues to seek new opportunities to improve efficiency. The extended partnership supports the company’s commitment towards social responsibility and has improved accuracy and visibility allowing the company to effectively communicate to its various stakeholders.