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Bloomberg Claims 200% ROI on Sustainability

Every dollar that Bloomberg has spent on sustainability has saved two dollars in operating costs, according to the company’s first public sustainability report.

The media and financial services company said that demand reduction and capital investment projects have led to over $25 million in net savings since 2008. According to the report (pdf), last year Bloomberg met its targets on renewable energy credits, external energy star compliance, waste diversion and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, but missed goals related to on-site renewable energy, paper use and recycled content.

REC purchases were up 25 percent from 2008 to 2010, to 60 percent of kWh, exceeding initial targets. This was due to savings made through deregulated energy contracts and to unexpected RECS bought to satisfy LEED requirements, the report said. Almost half of Bloomberg’s 13,000 employees will sit in LEED-certified office space by 2012, the company projected.

Last year, 100 percent of eligible, shipped customer equipment – the terminals and screens that Bloomberg clients use to monitor its news and data – was Energy Star compliant. Landfill waste was down 17 percent from 2007, and 59 percent of waste was diverted to landfill, beating a 50 percent goal.

But 2 MW of solar expected to be installed by year-end 2009 was postponed, and the current schedule calls for 1.8 MW in Q3 2011, with additional installations targeted for 2012. The company also fell short of its 50 percent paper reduction goal, reducing office paper purchases per PC by 39 percent from 2007 to 2010.

In 2010, 96 percent of paper that the company purchased for office use and its Markets magazine was FSC-certified, beating an 80 percent goal. But Bloomberg did not meet a goal of 50 percent recycled content, largely because it was unable to procure FSC-certified, recycled-content paper in Europe, the company said.

And travel emissions per employee were up 14 percent between 2008 and 2010. Bloomberg said this was due to increasing its headcount of customer-facing staff, such as sales teams, but hopes to address the issue in “the near future”, as teleconferencing equipment improves.

Last year the company’s absolute greenhouse gas emissions jumped by 26 percent over 2009 levels, but excluding recent acquisitions, GHGs actually fell by 1.5 percent. Businessweek and New Energy Finance (NEF), acquired in 2009, contributed 25 percent of Bloomberg’s 193,577 ton gross carbon output. Offsets took that corporate total down to 133,677 tons.

Bloomberg said that its environmental efforts have avoided about 83,000 metric tons of CO2e since 2008, the equivalent of emissions from burning 410 railcars of coal.

In examining its environmental impact, Bloomberg also considers its editorial content. Bloomberg.com carried 1,976 stories on clean energy and environmental issues in 2010, the company said

“Robust stakeholder engagement is critical for companies that are looking to integrate sustainability leadership and innovation across their entire enterprise,” said Mindy Lubber, president of investment advocacy group Ceres. “It’s an especially welcome development to see private companies like Bloomberg embrace the value of this approach.”

The report has been assessed as GSI application level B+.

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3 thoughts on “Bloomberg Claims 200% ROI on Sustainability

  1. Bloomberg’s new sustainability report is important because it shows a willingness to ‘walk the talk’.

    A few years ago, Bloomberg added environmental, social and governance (ESG) data to the information stream on its ubiquitous terminals. But Bloomberg found not enough companies reporting and the quality of ESG data also needs to improve. So, Bloomberg is using its first sustainability report as an opportunity to demonstrate how best to disclose ESG information.

    Given the prominent position Bloomberg inhabits in the business ecosystem, we expect its sustainability report to send wide ripples, setting an example of best practice while also making ESG disclosure more of a mandate for companies who want a complete profile in front of investors and analysts.

    As if that isn’t enough, 200 percent ROI from integrating sustainability into its operations should turn some heads as well…

    Andrea Moffat
    Vice President, Corporate Program

  2. This is very good news indeed. Now that Bloomberg says it, seems like the most obvious thing in the world. Green marketers (guilty!) have been saying for years now that sustainability leans ops, cuts on power consumption, and intelligently allocates existing resources — therefore reducing costs. But this unfortunately sounds like marketing jargon until it’s proven in the market. So bravo, Bloomberg!

  3. 200% ROI since 2008 is great. You have to respect Bloomberg for letting sustainability work its magic. Most small companies have the attitude that if there isn’t an ROI in 12-months, there will be no project. Even lighting projects will have a tough time meeting that requirement. Any tips?

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