Saturday, March 6, 2010

No News is Good News? Sustainability at Bloomberg

Bloomberg have a new sustainability mini site. It's about how the folks at Bloomberg are creating a sustainable Bloomberg. Over 10,000 folks in 135 offices around the world. They call their programme BGreen, and aspire to use Bloomberg's influence to create  a low carbon economy. It's fairly short and to the point. This is EVERYTHING it says:
  • Bloomberg has reduced waste to landfill by 15%
  • Green Energy purchase and IT savings have reduced electricity by millions of Kilowatts by doing things such as switching lights and computers off when not in use.
  • Bloomberg have reduced their  "transportation" carbon footprint with 50 Bloomberg employees biking to work in Frankfurt and in general, using trains instead of flights where possible, shuttle buses instead of cars, and alternative shipment instead of air.
  • Bloomberg has a plan to save 15 million gallons of water per year (15% of total consumption) via employee education, bathroom retrofits and rainwater capture.
  • Materials used in location designs include environmental considerations.
  • Bloomberg plans to make a 50% carbon emission reduction by 2013 (using 2007 as a baseline).
I find myself wondering if they created this flashy minisite just for this. I mean, it could all fit on one web page. It hardly even fills a blop. So I went back to the beginning to see if there was something I had missed. And then all was clear. This is what the introduction page says:

Bloomberg is a leader
Bloomberg is visionary
Bloomberg is progressive
Bloomberg is sustainable

Well. There is nothing that resembles leadership, vision or progressiveness in this glossy virtual brochure. And it only marginally resembles sustainability. If this were a news item, it wouldn't make the freebie edition. 

So now I find myself wondering what they had in mind when they put up that site. Who is it for ? What is its purpose? Perhaps one of the 10,000 Bloomberg Green employees might see this post and tell me.

And yet, there is something to be said for starting where you are. If this is where Bloomberg is, and credit where it's due, even this is better than nothing and probably took some effort to achieve, and it's far better to talk about it now than to wait until they become leading, visionary, progressive and sustainable, which, by the look of things, is gonna take some time.

My message to Bloomberg: Great. So far so good. Now its time to make NEWS out of your sustainability program.

elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm. Visit our website at:


Alex Harris said...

Hi Elaine, another good post. It comes down to the old political line: What is important is to be seen to be doing something...

Surprisingly, one of the better examples of a company doing this right (in my humble opinion) is News Limited. See its One Degree program and website here:

It is all about getting the company, and clients, to make small changes everywhere, all the time. I think it is a good strategy for all of us!


elaine said...

Thanks Alex. Yes, the News Limited site is outstanding. Positive moves with eye-level humility and a realistic view of the world. Thanks for alerting me to them.
Best, elaine

Adam Garfunkel said...

Hi Elaine. Alex is right - the 'news' about Bloomberg that they want to publish is that they are doing something. Rather than making 'news out of their sustainability program', I think they should make a sustainability program out of their news!

elaine said...

hiya Adam, thanks for commenting. i guess we are all in agreement! Congrats on the recent Adidas report, by the way :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Adam,

As a Bloomberg employee, I will admit this is a very fair criticism. My only response in defense is, just wait a little bit. This initiative at Bloomberg only took hold a couple of years ago, and BB has been pretty slow in communicating its efforts. we will be publishing a full fledged report talking about the steps taken, and the results, and how other companies could use those same steps to improve their sustainability programs.

Anonymous said...

Apologies, I was referring to Elaine, and not Adam in my earlier post.

elaine said...

Hi anonymous bloomberg employee, wow , thanks for reponding a year after the original post. The timelessness of blog posts never ceases to amaze me. Glad to hear that Bloomberg is continuing to progress and look foraward to seeing the report. Do give me a shout when it's published!

Anonymous said...

Check this update posted today...

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