Why should a company consider investing in a sustainability program? Is there a return on that investment? What value does it bring to your organization? Why do it? There are a number of intangible and feel-good reasons for wanting to protect the environment and serve your community and employees but are there profit and financial reasons to do so? The answer is yes and here are case studies showing significant financial returns, sales and earnings growth.

In their first 12 years of initiating sustainability they lowered their greenhouse gases by 71 percent while their sales increased by two-thirds and their earnings doubled.

Interface Carpets 2015 Highlights:

Footprint – The average carbon footprint of our carpet is down 31% since 2008.
Energy – Energy efficiency at manufacturing sites has improved by 45% since 1996.
Renewable Energy – 96% of energy used at manufacturing sites is from renewable sources.
GHG Emissions – GHG emissions intensity at manufacturing sites is down 92% since 1996.
Raw Materials – 50% of raw materials used are either recycled or biobased.
Water – Total water intake intensity at manufacturing sites is down 87% since 1996.
ReEntry – Diverted 26 million pounds of carpet and carpet scraps from landfills.
Net-Works – Collected and shipped 22 thousand lbs of fishing nets to recycling partner.
Safety Performance – Total Accident Frequency Rate is down 71% from 1999.
Source: Interface Sustainability Story

In 2015 GM recorded its third consecutive year of record sales and record net income.

GM Highlights from 2015:

GM was the only automaker to be named to the 2015 DOW Jones Sustainability Index.
CDP awarded GM 100% on climate change data disclosure.
131 GM facilities that have achieved landfill-free certification
Introduce 9 models offering and EPA-estimated 40 mpg highway or better.
106 MW of renewable energy use. GM is the number one automotive user of solar.
50% of manufacturing sites have achieved wildlife habitat certifications.
GM launched car-sharing programs in Germany, China and New York City.
The Chevy Volt was named the 2016 Green Car of the Year.
GM is actively in the process of designing self driving cars.
Source: GM 2015 Sustainability Report

AT&T grew revenues, expanded margins and increased earning in 2015.

AT&T Highlights from 2015:

By the end of 2015, AT&T hired more than 10,000 veterans, achieving their 2013 goal.
$119.1 million realized in annualized energy savings from 15,050 energy projects.
54 Million pounds of network "scrap" materials kept out of landfills.
AT&T's workforce is 33% women and 42% people of color.
5.9 million gallons of unleaded gasoline through use of 11,257 Alternative Fuel Vehicles.
Approximately 7.3 million cell phones reused or recycled through AT&T.
Spent 24.06% of total supplier spend, with minority, women and disabled veterans.
$317 million invested through AT&T Aspire since 2008 toward a $350 million commitment to education. Source: AT&T Citizenship & Sustainability



The market and demand for sustainable products and services continues to grow. Win sales by designing and marketing environmentally superior products that meet your customer’s needs for energy efficiency, improved resource productivity and reduced pollution. Increase market share by outdoing your competition and gain access to new markets.


Cut operating expenses by reducing energy, water, and waste-related costs in building, facilities, data centers and fleets. Cut product costs by increasing resource productivity, reducing materials and energy intensity, extending the life of products and equipment by designing for recyclability, reclamation and reuse. Reduce supply chain and distribution costs by lowering or eliminating expenses upstream and downstream. Reduce or avoid regulatory and compliance costs by reducing or eliminating pollution or toxics that otherwise would lead to regulatory paperwork, fees, fines and clean-up obligations.


Stay ahead of regulatory developments that could limit product or production choices. Avoid potential legal liabilities by taking actions today the head off future regulatory requirements, shareholder lawsuits, civil and criminal fines and penalties, property damage costs, clean-up costs from an accident, or ecosystem restoration costs. Avoid damage to corporate reputation and brand by avoiding spills, accidents, product failures and recalls. Avoid supply chain disruptions and shocks by managing exposure to scarce natural resources, extreme weather events and price volatility.


College graduates today are looking to work for environmentally responsible firms. The Graduation Pledge Alliance began in 1997 to encourage college graduates to seek employment only with firms having social and environmental responsibility. Graduate Pledge Alliance. More and more employees, particularly knowledge workers, want to be part of a company with a culture and values they share. Commitment to sustainability can translate directly into easier recruitment of top talent and increased retention rates of your current employees. The will considerably lower the costs of filling positions and the costs of losing top talent.


Investors, lenders and banks are increasingly factoring companies’ social and environmental performance into their lending decisions. They find sustainability leaders to pose fewer risks are better managed and therefore are provided greater access to capital at a lower cost.


Sustainably run companies may be able to gain access to a variety of federal, state and local economic incentives and rebates including tax breaks, subsidized loans, and grants.