Sustainability in the Built Environment

Why is sustainability knowledge critical in the market today? Simply put, stakeholders are demanding it. As  the market changes, professionals must be able to confidently communicate all aspects of value of their product/service. Now, more than ever, that includes an answer to the question, “Is this ___ sustainable?” To ensure that our teams could do just that, we developed our “Sustainable Ambassador Training.” In doing so, we discovered a broader need in the community to share this information.

Generational Shift in Project Values

Sustainability knowledge grants professionals access to a growing market share of consumers demanding transparent and sustainable products. Customer demand is changing as millennials and generation z enter the workforce. Both generations report a high interest in social and environmental initiatives, and they align their project purchasing decisions to support their overall values. Millennials are now the largest purchasing power. Sustainability knowledge will enable one to adapt to this growing demand and ensure that product values are communicated effectively in the changing market to support project goals.

Employee Retention

Establishing organization-wide  sustainability values and education has other benefits as well. Organizations that included sustainability initiatives in their corporate social responsibility programs consistently report higher rates of employee satisfaction and employee retention. Of surveyed gen z, 75% reported that their work should have a greater purpose than pay, and a majority percentage reported that the environment is a critical issue to them. With gen z constituting 30% of the workforce by 2025, organizations that don’t establish sustainable operation as a keystone value risk losing out on young talent. Sustainability education is also a great opportunity for current employee engagement, as it can synergize with most organizational operations and act as a uniting message for teams.

Regulations and Requirements

Sustainability is here to stay, and it is constantly changing and updating. Certifications become more stringent, carbon reduction targets become the norm and public policy adapts to popular demand. For example, the SEC just proposed that registrants will be required to disclose GHG Scope 1-3 emissions to obtain any investor funding moving forward. An understanding of what these key sustainability elements are and how they directly affect the work of an organization prevents a state of constant reaction and, instead, allows for proactivity, maximizing investments already made and providing greater value for all businesses.

Without Knowledge Comes Greenwash

Knowledge of sustainability is essential. Without it, you risk communicating blanket “green” language that does not actually support a customer achieving their sustainable project goals. “Greenwashing” has unfortunately become a more common pitfall and is a surefire way to discredit any sustainability effort. Sustainability education can not only protect an organization from making the mistake of greenwashing and misleading consumers, but it also allows organizations to participate in the growing arena of green building standards (LEED, WELL, Living Building Challenge, etc.) that provide strong, widely recognized credibility to the sustainability aspects of buildings.

Become a Sustainable Ambassador Today

Superior Essex Communications has spent more than a decade developing a robust sustainability program within the company and through our operations and products. By earning notable certifications (including the rigorous Zero Waste to Landfill for our Hoisington, Kansas plant), publishing Environmental Product Declarations and Health Product Declarations for our cabling products and creating the industry’s first Zero Carbon Program, we  wholistically understand the importance of Sustainable Ambassadorship and what it takes for the ICT industry to evolve our knowledge to enable a more sustainable world through technology. We believe that the technology that interconnects the world should also respect it, and the only way we can accomplish progress is together.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of Superior Essex Communications. They do not necessarily represent Wesco's views.

Sustainability in the Built Environment: Carbon, Chemicals and Circularity

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Superior Essex Communications is the leading manufacturer and supplier of communications cable in North America. It is at the forefront of innovation through Power over Ethernet, intelligent buildings and cities, and 5G fiber infrastructure. Superior Essex Communications is setting the pace on sustainability by being the first and only company with a Zero Waste to Landfill Certification, the first wire and cable producer to contribute points to LEED certification, and the first to offer verified sustainable cables in over 50 products.