CEO Innovation Summit | December 6, 2018 Learn More

Energy and Environment Earth Day, the Environment, & Efficiency


UPS is using electric and conventional tricycles to deliver packages in some urban centers.

When commemorating Earth Day this year, America’s business leaders are showing that efficiency and protecting the environment go hand in hand.

By cutting energy, reducing waste and making more efficient use of resources, U.S. companies have made great contributions to the environmental progress the country has made since the first Earth Day in 1970.

This focus on efficiency also drives investment and innovation, while at the same time meeting the demands of the marketplace. Productivity increases, the customer is well served, and the economy grows.

One-hundred-and-thirty-three CEOs document their companies’ efforts in the new Business Roundtable report, Create, Grow, Sustain: People and Technology at Work.

In introducing the report, Nick Akins, CEO of American Electric Power (AEP) and Chair of BRT’s Energy and Environment Committee, highlights some remarkable achievements:

Earth Day, the Environment, & Efficiency Report Video

“From tracking threatened wildlife using footprint identification technology; to using wastewater from yogurt to produce electricity; to recycling more water, energy and material with each passing year, our companies are on the leading edge of solving today’s sustainability challenges with a robust mix of technology and human ingenuity.”

AEP itself has invested more than $7.5 billion over the last 15 years in environmental control technology and reduced smog-generating emissions by more than 80 percent since 2001.

Other companies and their CEOs have their own efficiency achievements to tell. From The Washington Post’s BrandConnect:

  • Using a global data management system, AECOM’s regional operations delivering 12 percent to 19 percent reductions in electricity and paper use.
  • General Mills is now reusing or recycling 86 percent of all solid waste from its North American operations.
  • San Diego is moving street lights to energy-efficient LEDs under a collaboration that includes Qualcomm’s Smart Cities Initiative. Lighting energy consumption could be reduced by 60 million kilowatt hours annually.
  • Texas Instruments cut water use by 12 percent in 2015, a three-time increase over its goal. The initiative saved the company $2.5 million.
  • International Paper has cut its global greenhouse gas emissions by 8.3 percent since 2010, while John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline, Ill., reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent after replacing its coal-fired powerhouse with natural gas boilers.
  • A new Xylem wastewater plant in Los Angeles will provide the drought-stricken community with 12 million gallons daily of highly purified, recycled water.

Business Roundtable CEOs have reported nearly 1,000 examples of these kind over the nine years of the BRT sustainability report, building an impressive record of how their companies have contributed to sustainable economic growth and a cleaner environment — not just in the United States, but all around the world.

Efficiency has played a central role in these efforts, and on this Earth Day, let’s give it the full attention it deserves.