Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What Siemens has done for sustainability?

In week two, we are discussing how product design can influence the operational effectiveness in supply chain management. A good design of product could have a character of sustainable, accessible, functional, well made, emotionally resonant, enduring, socially beneficial, beautiful, ergonomic, and affordable.

Thinking of all the refreshing products I had ever seen, a beautiful summer day back to 2009 come out to my mind, when I had a great opportunity to assist in a summit meeting about Green Energy and took an intimate look at all the related innovative designs, during my intern at Siemens China Ltd. At that time, the idea of Green energy has just come out. Energy-saving and sustainability for the global environment is more like a slogan or a buzzword. However, not too many global companies are contributing to this, not even mention to build this as a core idea of industry and make profit from it.  

What is sustainability? And what does it mean for a multinational company? Well, as you thinking of the answers, let’s have a look at this video and see how Siemens interpret it.

Source: The Chief Sustainability Officer on the importance of sustainability, Barbara Kux, http://www.siemens.com/sustainability/en/index.php

As introduced in their website, Siemens has three areas of sustainable development – environment, business and society, which consist to the cornerstone of all their activities. We can see their concerns for environment in their last year’s materiality portfolio that highlights key sustainability topics and importance for their stakeholders and Siemens. [1]

As shown in the graph, the Environmental Portfolio is rated highest for both the stakeholders and the company. The products in the Siemens environmental portfolio include energy-saving devices for buildings, lighting, transportation and industry, as well as other environmental technologies in the health care sector. To qualify for inclusion in the portfolio, a product must reduce greenhouse gas emissions or help combat water and air pollution. [2]

Their primary goal is “to tap these opportunities and systematically expand our Environmental Portfolio. Specifically, we aim to boost revenue from our Environmental Portfolio to at least €40 billion by the end of fiscal 2014 and help our customers reduce their carbon emissions by 300 million metric tons by the end of fiscal 2011.” [3]

As redefined in their philosophy, “energy-efficient” products are “energy-saving” products. [4] And using high-efficiency technology in Siemens’ manufacturing operations not only plays an important role in their risk management by helping them hedge against rising energy costs, but also enables them to showcase their capabilities to customers and demonstrate the possible achievement with their solutions.

Besides the products, Siemens also has made other efforts to promote the “Green” idea. Some of the interesting enrollments I found are listed below:

  • Carbon Disclosure Project: the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is an independent not-for-profit organization working to drive greenhouse gas emissions reduction and sustainable water use by business and cities. And Siemens is acting actively in this. (You could find more information of CDP by: https://www.cdproject.net/en-US/Pages/HomePage.aspx)
  • Green Building Technologies and Green Building Solutions: One of Siemens service to help other companies to reduce energy costs, meet green mandates or balance environmental goals with occupant comfort and productivity [5]
  • US and Canada Green City Index: a research project conducted by the Economist Intelligence unit, sponsored by Siemens, seeds to measure and compare the environmental perfamance of 27 major US and Canadian cities across nine categories [6]

What do you think that other companies could learn from Siemens? Do you still believe environmental concerns are hard to achieve and will lower down your profits? Well, there is no excuse to refuse the theme of "Green". Make your move and learn from Siemens!!


[1] "Guided by Sustainability." Siemens Global Website. Web. 07 Feb. 2012. <http://www.siemens.com/sustainability/en/understanding-of-sustainability/guided-by-sustainability.htm>.

[2] Walzer, Robert P. "Siemens Chief Discusses Green Initiatives." Energy and Environment - Green Blog - NYTimes.com. The New York Times, 20 Nov. 2009. Web. 07 Feb. 2012. <http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/20/siemens-chief-discusses-green-initiatives/>.

[3] "Our Key Goals." Siemens Global Website. Web. 07 Feb. 2012. <http://www.siemens.com/sustainability/en/understanding-of-sustainability/key-goals.htm>.

[4] "Energy Efficient Products." Siemens Global Website. Web. 07 Feb. 2012. 
<http://www.industry.siemens.com/topics/global/en/energy-efficient-production/energy-efficient-products/pages/default.aspx >.

[5] "Green Building Technologies and Green Building Solutions." Siemens Global Website. Web. 07 Feb. 2012.<http://www.buildingtechnologies.siemens.com/bt/us/services__and__solutions/green_building_solutions/pages/green_building_technologies__solutions.aspx>.

[6] "Green City Index." Siemens Global Website. Web. 07 Feb. 2012. <http://www.siemens.com/entry/cc/en/greencityindex.htm>.

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