Since 2012, Hanley Wood 's Vision 2020 program has brought together building industry experts to establish and examine a timeline of critical goals and metrics that building professionals must establish and meet by the year 2020 in order to preserve our environment and meet large-scale goals such as those of the 2030 Challenge. The program is supported not only by the 10 members of the Hanley Wood Sustainability Council, but also by underwriting product manufacturers who are deeply invested in high-performance design. Last July, we brought together the sustainability experts from each of our underwriting sponsors for a candid discussion on the challenges of green product manufacturing and now, in a series of one-on-one interviews, we explore their companies' individual philosophies on the high-performance building realm.
We recently spoke with Laura Dwyer, North American marketing manager for DuPont Building Innovations Center, about the company's approach to sustainability and Dwyer's thoughts on the path ahead.
What is DuPont's mission statement when it comes to sustainability?
We have four core values, and one of those is environmental stewardship. We continue to invest in sustainability and corporate strategy in a way that creates value for our company, our customers, our shareholders, and society. We want to affirm to all stakeholders and the public that we'll conduct our business with respect and care for the environment.
We want to build our central businesses and achieve the greatest return to our stakeholders, but absolutely not in a way that compromises the ability of future generations to meet their needs. We continuously strive to improve our practices in light of advances in technology and new understandings in safety, health, and environmental science. That's why we participate in Vision 2020--to gain new understandings that are being built out of the work in that program.
What are some of the key goals for your company in this realm and what kinds of metrics are you using to measure progress?
I'll talk about three key headlines: social responsibility, environmental stewardship, and sustainable growth. Social responsibility is that whole concept of do no harm today and also do no harm to the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Environmental stewardship is about continuing to focus on reducing our footprint, pursuing our sustainability goals and increasing our R&D investment in products that are made from non-depletable resources, that reduce greenhouse gasses, or help structures be more sustainable. This is also what sustainable growth is about--engaging key stakeholders such as environmental groups, industry leaders, academia, and our customers and suppliers to collaborate on solutions that address the market's needs while making sure that they are durable, healthy, and sustainable.
We also have three megatrends that affect our work: food and feeding the world; energy, making sure that we're using energy as efficiently as possible and are using clean sources; and protection and keeping both people and the environment safe.
DuPont's been on a journey to sustainable growth since the 1970s. In the late 1980s, we implemented footprint reduction goals based on reducing DuPont's immediate impact on the environment with our plant sites and office buildings. As we improved on those goals, we moved to energy goals, and then began developing market-facing goals to help the market build more healthy, sustainable, and durable structures.
We have specific metrics that we track. When it comes to the three megatrends, the metrics we're focused on are investments in R&D and solutions and products that have a positive environmental benefit. We track how much we spend in R&D toward that goal. One of our goals is to introduce 1,000 products that help make people safer, and another is to increase revenue by $2 billion in solutions and products that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, creating weather barriers for a building's exterior helps to make that building tighter and use less energy, which equates to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Another goal is to increase revenue from non-depletable sources by $8 billion.
When it comes to sustainable manufacturing and high-performance products, is there one aspect of sustainability you and your company are currently focusing on the most, such as water efficiency, carbon footprint reduction, community outreach, or material transparency? It seems as though these three megatrends are what is driving your work.
Yes. The only thing I would add is that we continue to integrate sustainability into the value proposition for all of our customers to help them achieve their sustainability goals. We've done a great job in the sustainable manufacturing arena. We continue to try to reduce our footprint and impact on the environment.
Regarding the goals I mentioned earlier, we've already achieved our $2 billion goal, which had been set for 2015. We have also generated $11.8 billion in revenue from products that come from non-depletable resources. We met those goals two years ahead of schedule, so we're in the process of creating some new, ambitious goals to drive more sustainability.
What do you think are one or two of the biggest challenges facing sustainable product manufacturing between now and 2020?
Material transparency is a challenge. The challenge, from DuPont's perspective, isn't in making our products. Our manufacturing process is rigorous and we look not only at how the product will perform today, but also at how the material going into the product affects the environment and what happens to the product during its lifespan and as it is disposed.
Most manufacturers agree that we want to cause no harm, but how do we provide enough information to the industry at large without sacrificing intellectual property? It's not that we don't want to achieve the intent of what material transparency advocates want to accomplish, but that there is an intellectual property risk. I believe we can come to a solution that is satisfactory to all.
The other big challenge for manufacturers is finding ways to work together to construct healthy, sustainable, and durable structures. I know how my product works, how it goes into the wall, and how it plays with others, but we have builders and owners asking about unintended consequences that arise as codes change and people change how they build. How do these changes affect the performance of the structure overall? I said it's a challenge, but it's really an opportunity moving forward.
How can high-performance building professionals help drive sustainability in your company?
We've been engaging industry professionals such as Mark LaLiberte to help the marketplace. We collaborate with these professionals on innovation, as well, to help us figure out what the market's key needs are and how we can help meet them.