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American Express is a Green-to-Gold Award Winner

April 14, 2014


I recently had the pleasure of accepting - on behalf of American Express -- the annual Green-to-Gold Award, which is voted on by the students and faculty of the Duquesne University Sustainability MBA program.

The criteria for this award are a blend of environmental stewardship, social responsibility and economic performance as set forth in the book Green-to-Gold by Daniel Esty and Andrew Winston. The award was presented by the Dean of the School of Business, Dean McFarlin, as part of a day-long Sustainability Symposium held on the Duquesne University Campus in Pittsburgh on April 4th.

Tim McClimon

Tim accepting the Green-to-Gold Award


Past Green-to-Gold winners have included Starbucks, Proctor & Gamble and Cisco Systems.

In presenting the award, the students and faculty cited the following factors that distinguished American Express's sustainability performance:

  • KLD rating of "A."
  • Outperformed the service industry in all KLD ratings except one.
  • Publishes its corporate sustainability report, which is rare for the service industry.
  • Exceeded its goal of a 10% reduction in carbon emissions set in 2007 and set a new target to reduce carbon emissions by another 10% by 2017.
  • Constructed a new office building in the UK designed to improve energy efficiency contributed by the use of solar energy and CFL light bulbs that led to significant carbon emission reductions in 2012 and beyond.
  • Built a new data center in North Carolina in 2012 that achieved LEED Gold status. The new data center uses solar and thermal energy expected to offset the additional carbon emissions generated by the anticipated increase in energy consumption at the data center due to market growth.
  • In paper reduction, American Express conducted research to lower the weight of envelopes resulting in 1,500 million pounds of paper savings each year since 2005.
  • Using newly developed types of paper and shrinking the size of catalogues led to even lower paper consumption translating to reduced carbon emissions.
  • Selected the "highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Credit Card Companies" by J.D. Power & Associates for six years in a row.
  • Collaborated with Federal regulators to develop corrective actions to further improve customer satisfaction.
  • Provided funding to communities affected by natural catastrophes.
  • Supported Feeding America in the expansion of its Store Donation Program, which recovers perishable products that do not meet retailers marketing standards but are still safe for consumption, for donation to Feeding America food banks. This support collected and distributed 605 million pounds of food in 2012.
  • Preservation of historic sites for future generations.
  • Increased total shareholder equity from $14.4 billion in 2009 to $18.9 billion in 2012.
  • Raised Basic EPS from $3.37 in 2010 to $3.91 in 2012 (down slightly from $4.14 in 2011).
  • Improved Net Income from $2.7 billion in 2008 to $4.5 billion in 2012 while revenue grew from $28.2 billion in 2008 to $31.6 billion in 2012.
  • Increased stock price steadily since 2009 from about $20.share to about $90/share currently.

I couldn't have said it better myself!

We are proud to be recipients of this award this year, and our thanks go out to the students and faculty at the Duquesne University Sustainability MBA program, and especially to Dean McFarlin and the Executive Director of the Beard Institute, Bill O'Rourke.

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to share them here. Alternatively, you can follow me on Twitter at @timmcclimon and comment there. Thanks for sharing this blog with friends and colleagues.
 

P.S. Did you know that the Duquesne University Sustainability MBA program is ranked 1st in the United States and 8th in the world by the Corporate Knights and is consistently ranked among the best in the world by the Aspen Institute?

 

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