A recent news article that caught my attention was about a collaborative solar hydrogen electrolysis project between German multi-national company Siemens and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). The memorandum is signed to undertake a plan which involves developing a power hydrogen electrolysis facility in the desert plains outside of Dubai. If all goes as planned, the facility will generate enough energy to meet the energy needs of the Emirate. The basic idea is that the electrolysis process will generate hydrogen which will then be used to power fuel-cell vehicles. Other applications of this generated hydrogen would be for re-electrification, transportation, and re-introduction into the gas network. This project is a major step forward in the direction of corporate sustainability for Siemens. Siemens president Joe Kaesar said “This is truly a landmark project for Dubai and the world, and a great step forward in building a secure supply of sustainable energy for the region’s economic development.”
So what exactly is corporate sustainability? It is a new and evolving corporate management paradigm which recognizes that while corporate growth and profitability are important, an organization also needs to pursue societal goals, specifically those relating to sustainable development — environmental protection, social justice and equity, and economic development. There are four keys areas that corporate sustainability address. The first is sustainable development, which balances the need for economics growth with environmental protection and social equity. The second is corporate social responsibility, which explains how corporate managers have an ethical obligation to consider the needs of society. The third is stakeholder theory, which states that the stronger an organizations’ relations with external parties, the easier it will be for the organization to achieve its objectives, and vice versa. And the final one is corporate accountability, which is the organization’s legal and ethical responsibility to provide an account for all the actions that it is held responsible. Over the last few years, several companies have been beginning to take their social and sustainable responsibilities more seriously, which has shed a lot of light on this topic of corporate sustainability.
Another more relatable example of corporate sustainability initiatives would be those recently announced by fast-food giant, McDonald’s. To achieve their goal of 100 percent sustainability, the company announced two new sustainable initiatives. The first of these is ensure that all of their packaging comes from recycled, renewable or certified materials. The second is to ensure that 100 percent of their locations participate in packaging recycling by 2025. Creation and disposal of packaging materials is a major contributor towards greenhouse gas emissions. McDonald’s, having about 60 million daily users per day, can be one of the larger generators of this, so any efforts taken by the corporation to minimize the impact would be greatly beneficial. McDonald’s is setting a great example of renewable packaging methods. It will be exciting to see how corporate sustainability shapes itself in upcoming years, for corporations other than McDonald’s as well.
Reference Article (Siemens and DEWA): https://www.pv-magazine.com/2018/02/14/siemens-to-work-with-dewa-on-dubais-first-solar-hydrogen-electrolysis-plant/