Corporate Citizenship Report 2009

Impacting Key Issues

Helping Suppliers Achieve Sustainability

Shrinking Environmental Footprints

 Windmills in Livermore, California, USA.

Photo: Stock

Windmills in Livermore, California, USA

Boeing's commitment to its corporate environmental strategy has prompted support for helping suppliers learn how to set targets for reducing their own environmental footprints.

“Research shows that if these companies become more competitive and sustainable, they also have a lead function in greening their local communities," said Herbert Lust, Global Corporate Citizenship strategic programs director.  

Because smaller companies generally have less money and time to invest in tools and training, especially small, minority-, veteran- and women-owned suppliers, Boeing’s Global Corporate Citizenship has partnered with The Natural Step, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to education, advisory work and research in sustainable development.

 “The Natural Step participants are a community of people working together to learn from one another,” said Regina Hauser, executive director of The Natural Step

Companies that have worked with The Natural Step have reduced recruiting costs, improved employee productivity, increased revenue and even lowered insurance costs by focusing on sustainability, according to Regina Hauser, executive director of The Natural Step.

Boeing has  introduced The Natural Step program to some of its suppliers in Oregon and Southern California to encourage them to sign up for a full 100-Day Natural Step Program that will run through next year.

 “Boeing has set some aggressive performance objectives for sustainability as part of its broader business strategy,” said Steve Mason, senior manager, Environmental, Health and Safety. “As part of our strategy to meet those objectives, we are starting to help our suppliers understand sustainability and the process for transforming ourselves. Together, we can then learn, apply and share our best practices to reduce our impact.”

During the program each company sets its own specific reduction targets that could include reducing energy use, reducing waste, increasing recycling, using less water.

In the final phase, when tangible results begin to emerge – such as reduced dependence on unsustainable resources or lower carbon footprints – participants share best practices about innovative actions each business is pursuing.

 “The Natural Step participants are a community of people working together to learn from one another,” Hauser said.