Erin Klem  | October 9, 2015

Businesses Give Back: Protecting the Planet

Cross-posted from the Corporate Citizenship Center

The Corporate Citizenship Award for Best Environmental Stewardship Program recognizes accomplishments in addressing environmental issues. While all of the 2015 finalists show the significant, positive impact businesses have around the world, the award ultimately went to Shell Oil.

In 2011, a Shell Oil Company employee saw a presentation about an innovative technology for water habitat restoration; however, it had never before been applied in open water. Inspired by the need to address coastal erosion in Louisiana, Shell and the Coastal Conservation Association proposed a demonstration project to use the innovative “floating islands” technology to help restore the coastal wetlands on Isle de Jean Charles. The floating islands are created using a matrix of plastic (made from recycled PET bottles) and planted with appropriate vegetation whose roots extend into the water. The system reduces wave energy, lessening erosion potential. The project was managed by Shell employees and brought together local businesses, other oil and gas companies, local government, and community schools. Not only has this project had a positive impact on more than 1,000 people and indigenous inhabitants, but also the floating islands advance the science of habitat restoration and marine fisheries conservation in the United States.

Aligned with MGM Resorts International’s mission to protect the planet’s natural resources, MGM partnered with NRG Energy to install a 6.4MW solar photovoltaic (PV) array on the rooftop of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, spanning 20 acres. This installation of solar panels generates enough electricity to power the equivalent of 1,000 homes. Taking advantage of the Nevada sun, MGM is proud to serve as an example of private sector companies working together to develop innovative technologies and solutions that protect the planet’s natural resources. Over the past five years, MGM Resorts International has completed energy conservation efforts in its resorts that have cumulatively saved enough energy to equal the average annual usage of 22,000 homes in the United States.

Time Warner Cable’s fleet of more than 20,000 service trucks and vehicles represented approximately 20% of the company’s total carbon footprint. As a part of the company’s larger commitment to raising environmental awareness, using fewer natural resources, and generating less waste, the company was inspired to create an operating fleet that was more sustainable and fundamentally more efficient than its current fleet. Time Warner Cable made major improvements to its fleet vehicles by adjusting major and minor details. Major improvements included using more lightweight materials in constructing the truck bodies and interiors, increasing fuel performance by 40%, and extending the life of existing tires and disposing fewer tires. By the end of 2014, Time Warner Cable achieved a 38% reduction in its carbon intensity as compared to its 2012 baseline through numerous Go Green initiatives, including improving its fleet.