Businesses can respond to the increased focus on sustainability — and can benefit their bottom line, clients, and communities — by implementing environmentally sustainable practices.

A commitment to environmental sustainability is becoming an essential part of corporate and community resilience and growth. More and more, customers are looking to buy products from companies that engage in sustainable practices. According to Nielsen, nearly half of U.S. consumers say they'd "definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment." Likewise, job seekers want to work for socially responsible companies. And investors are actively seeking to purchase stocks of more sustainable companies, as they have been shown to perform better in the long-term.

Businesses can respond to the increased focus on sustainability — and can benefit their bottom line, clients, and communities — by implementing environmentally sustainable practices.

How Businesses Lead the Way in Counteracting Climate Change

Corporations can play a major role in limiting the impacts of climate change. Corporate sustainability practices can have a much greater impact than individual efforts alone. The International Energy Agency states that buildings account for nearly 40 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions globally. Companies have the opportunity to make a meaningful impact by operating more sustainable, LEED-certified facilities and by committing to use renewable energy sources, such as wind power, solar power, and hydropower. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, employing renewable energy sources can reduce air pollution, reduce dependence on imported fuels, and create jobs.

Setting Sustainability Goals

Goal setting is an important first step in slowing the effects of climate change. Science-based sustainability goals help companies commit to innovation and develop strategic, environmentally friendly practices. For companies looking to maximize their spending, input from the scientific community can be the best resource to help set priorities and formulate achievable goals. Science-based targets developed by the Science-Based Targets initiative help companies understand global climate change in all its complexity and provide a methodology for long-term goal setting, which aligns to the Paris Agreement goal of limiting the global temperature increase to no more than 2 degrees Celcius.

KeyBank's Commitment to Sustainability

In addition to investing in renewable energy sources, KeyBank has aimed to reduce its operational footprint by designing and leasing more efficient, environmentally-friendly facilities. As a result, KeyBank now operates over 2 million square feet of LEED-certified space, including 50 percent of corporate facilities. The company set ambitious 2030 and 2050 goals towards reducing energy and GHG emissions, increasing the use of renewable energy in its operations, and to report results in its annual CDP and corporate responsibility report. In 2018 alone, KeyBank diverted 48 percent of company waste from landfills and reduced paper usage by 45.1 tons, approximately 9 million sheets. They are on pace to reach both the 2030 and 2050 goals for energy and emissions reductions.

Both Corporate Knights and Barron's have recognized KeyBank's corporate sustainability efforts, naming it one of the top sustainable companies. KeyBank recognizes that investing in sustainability not only helps the bottom line but also helps its clients and its community in our journey toward a brighter future.