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Sustainability: Taking a pause or moving forward?

Major automakers like Volvo, GM and Ford have announced plans to expand their fleets of electric vehicles, while distribution center operators like Amazon continue to install solar panels on their rooftops, even in coal country. The question is: Will commitments to sustainability and good corporate citizenship remain if regulations are rolled back?

By ·

Are we all about to hit the pause button on sustainability? It’s a question that’s much in the news these days, and the signals can be confounding. As I write this column, the New York Times recently reported the EPA’s plans “to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.” On the one hand, the administration has declared that coal is now back in vogue. On the other, the New York Times has also reported that even in coal country, renewable energy sources are in demand. Exhibit one: The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum is installing solar panels.

At least some businesses seem to remain committed to sustainability and corporate responsibility. Major automakers like Volvo, GM and Ford have announced plans to expand their fleets of electric vehicles, while distribution center operators like Amazon continue to install solar panels on their rooftops, even in coal country. The question is: Will commitments to sustainability and good corporate citizenship remain if regulations are rolled back?

I put that question to the four senior executives who participated in SCMR’s first roundtable on sustainability. The answer from all four is summed up by something Keith Kenny of McDonald’s said: “McDonald’s emphasis is on leadership. We try to move ahead of legislation and are led instead by the work we do with academic and NGO partners and the expectation of our customers.” I hope you’ll learn as much from these industry leaders as I did.

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By ·

Are we all about to hit the pause button on sustainability? It’s a question that’s much in the news these days, and the signals can be confounding. As I write this column, the New York Times recently reported the EPA’s plans “to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.” On the one hand, the administration has declared that coal is now back in vogue. On the other, the New York Times has also reported that even in coal country, renewable energy sources are in demand. Exhibit one: The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum is installing solar panels.

At least some businesses seem to remain committed to sustainability and corporate responsibility. Major automakers like Volvo, GM and Ford have announced plans to expand their fleets of electric vehicles, while distribution center operators like Amazon continue to install solar panels on their rooftops, even in coal country. The question is: Will commitments to sustainability and good corporate citizenship remain if regulations are rolled back?

I put that question to the four senior executives who participated in SCMR’s first roundtable on sustainability. The answer from all four is summed up by something Keith Kenny of McDonald’s said: “McDonald’s emphasis is on leadership. We try to move ahead of legislation and are led instead by the work we do with academic and NGO partners and the expectation of our customers.” I hope you’ll learn as much from these industry leaders as I did.

 


About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, has covered materials handling, technology, logistics and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. In addition to Supply Chain Management Review, he is also Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

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Editorial · Sustainability · All Topics
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