Owens Corning aspires to be a net positive company through:
- Operations sustainability;
- Product and supply chain sustainability;
- Innovation and collaboration to deliver energy efficiency and durable material solutions at scale; and
- Employee safety, health and engagement and community vitality.
Owens Corning is committed to reducing its footprint. 2020 goals were established from its 2010 baseline. Aspects include: primary energy, greenhouse gas, fine particulate matter, toxic air emissions, and waste-to-landfill and water reductions. These goals align with the topics our stakeholders identified as important in decreasing our footprint.
Owens Corning’s purpose – Our people and products make the world a better place – is part of our net positive aspiration. Our products, through how they are manufactured and used, can contribute to solving some of our world’s biggest issues including climate change, affordable housing, and safety, health and wellbeing.
We met our 2015 goals for having life cycle assessments on our core products and now turn to making those continuous improvements in footprint reduction. This also means engaging with our suppliers to help us improve our supply chain sustainability including our Scope 3 impacts. These goals align with the topics that were important to its stakeholders in decreasing its footprint and product responsibility.
It is important to the company and our stakeholders that Owens Corning collaborates with other parties to utilize our expertise in building science and material science for higher performance in the industries we serve – building construction, transportation, infrastructure and energy production to name a few. This is an area where the Company will continue to work on code advancement for energy efficiency, partnering with its customers to improve the performance of new and existing buildings, engaging with non-profits on energy, climate and wellness progress across the economy and work with its customers on product innovation to deliver on this promise. This aligns with increasing our handprint, product responsibility and social responsibility.
Living safely is a way of life at Owens Corning, not just at work but at home as well. Our commitment to safety is unconditional. We have found that a facility operating well from a safety standpoint, and with engaged employees, is likely to excel in quality, service and operating cost. From this basis we recognize that health and wellbeing, both of mind and body, are needed to meet our vision of a flourishing workforce, their families and our communities. We are engaged in our communities, through volunteering, financial support and leadership. This strategy aligns with what our stakeholders want as a socially responsible company.
Net Positive Aspiration
Owens Corning has been committed to creating a positive impact by setting goals, measuring, reducing and reporting our footprint for many years. But footprint reduction is not enough to solve today’s issues of energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and other natural resource consumption or social impacts. The next few decades are key, as the global population is expected to reach nine billion people by the year 2050, all of whom will require food, water, sanitation, shelter, education, and healthcare. To build a better world, we must change the way we live and work.
Discovering our Footprint and Handprint
Under the guidance of Dr. Greg Norris, Dr. Eileen McNeely and members of SHINE (Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise, through the School of Public Health at Harvard University), we have been exploring both the methods and measures of handprints and handprinting.
Handprints are positive impacts that a company causes to happen relative to business as usual as opposed to footprints, which are the measure of our negative impact on the world. The scope of footprinting for a company is the life cycle impacts of the products that a company manufactures, including the company’s operations. The scope of handprinting includes reductions to our footprint, but can also include changes it influences in the consumption and impacts of others, such as our employees, our suppliers and in our community.
Handprinting uses life cycle thinking, measuring not only the impact of our own operations, but also those of our suppliers and the people that touch our products or interact with our company. It creates new opportunities for us and our stakeholders to positively impact our environment, support community vitality and engage our employees.
Ultimately, the goal is to have our handprint overcome our footprint to be a net positive company through the products we make and actions we take to boost energy efficiency in houses and commercial buildings, transportation and renewable energy as well as our community involvement and investment in employees and stakeholders.
In 2015, Owens Corning became a founding member of the Net Positive Project coordinated with SHINE, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and Forum for the Future as the leading NGOs to organize the work streams. This coalition began with a conference between the founding members that explored the questions of how to credibly account for net positive actions.
The Net Positive Project is a coalition aimed at expanding the number of companies that contribute in a net positive way to society, the environment, and the global economy. These companies go beyond just reducing their negative sustainability impact.
The project will develop practices and tools companies can use to quantify, assess, communicate, and enhance their positive impacts on society and the environment. It will guide companies to reduce their negative impacts or footprints.
While the momentum around net positive is growing, there are currently no commonly accepted ways for companies to measure and report on net positive claims. The project can help prevent companies from investing in redundant, fragmented, or misaligned approaches.
During its first year, the Net Positive Project will focus on these main actions:
- Net positive principles: Expand, refine, and agree on defining principles and a theory of change for net positive
- Net positive methodology: Build on existing work to advance a framework on how to scope, measure, and communicate net positive outcomes
- Case study methodology: Advance a standardized approach for companies to develop case studies describing how products and services contribute to social and environmental progress
Building science is an integral part of what builders, architects, designers, product manufacturers and engineers use today to innovate, design and build high performance buildings.
Building science is the study of the response of buildings to interior and exterior loads. This includes the study of the response of junctions/interfaces, building envelope systems all the way to complete building complexes. The loads can be moisture, air pressure, heat, indoor air quality, acoustical pressure, and fire. These loads can be climatically dependent (climate zones), but also elevation and orientation dependent. This information provides key project decision makers with the needed characteristics of the all the materials that come together as systems to provide thermal control, acoustical control, air sealing and moisture management to achieve energy efficiency, durability, good indoor air quality and overall comfort for the building occupants.
These systems can be analytically modeled and field stress-tested, prior to final design and construction, using a blend of sophisticated open source and proprietary modeling software and expertise, by our global building science experts.
Owens Corning collaborates with builders, architects and other high performance building organizations and advocates to further our strategy of innovation to improve the energy efficiency, durability and comfort of residential and commercial buildings. See “Collaborations”. Building Science within Owens Corning operates as a core function that is responsible to guide adoption of existing products/systems, accelerate new development and chart direction for future innovation. Our building science experts work directly with builders, HERS raters and architects to help achieve greater performance, along the entire continuum from meeting minimum energy code requirements through net-zero energy buildings, affordably. While achieving energy efficiency and energy security are charted necessities, Owens Corning’s significant contribution to the marketplace will continue to be design for durability, increasing the life cycle of buildings and the introduction of design for comfort in each zone of the building.
The power of Building Science comes through what we call “field to physics” and “physics to the field”. This comes alive through close collaboration with our customers, and their customers, on job sites where we seek to deeply understand the real-world challenges they face. We then work to convert these challenges into opportunities and innovation of new products, through the lens of state-of-the-art behavioral building science. Typical focus areas for us include aesthetics, safety, labor savings, energy efficiency, water and vapor management, indoor air quality, durability, comfort, and sustainability.
It’s all about identifying problems worth solving and then developing specific solutions in a way that’s great for our customers, great for their customers, great for the planet, and great for Owens Corning.
How We Measure Progress
In 2015, Owens Corning committed to a 50% increase in the number of net zero buildings we support through collaboration with our partners by 2020 compared to 2006 levels. Owens Corning’s Conscientious Builder Program identifies builders that strive to build net zero buildings. These builders have partnered with Owens Corning to capitalize on our building science knowledge and experience. By the end of 2015 we surpassed this goal with several large programs. With our 2015 success, Owens Corning is committed to a year over year increase, from 35 net zero ready homes constructed in North America in the baseline year 2015.
Supply Chain Sustainability
Owens Corning is dedicated to being a solid corporate citizen around the world, and to upholding the highest standards possible in how we conduct ourselves and transact our day-to-day business. We know that maintaining a strong and positive reputation as a company is premised on earning it each and every day around the globe.
We believe companies in our supply chain are as important to our business as our own production operations. As a result, we consider it a business imperative to work with and nurture relationships with suppliers to assure they are dedicated to upholding high standards in how they run their companies.
To this end, we have created the Owens Corning Supplier Code of Conduct. It is consistent with our Employee Code of Conduct and with the commitments we have made both as a signatory to the UN Global Compact, and as a member of the RobecoSam DJSI World Index. The Supplier Code of Conduct outlines the various sets of expectations we have of each one of our suppliers, sets forth key principles we expect our suppliers to embrace, and will act prospectively as a reference for us in our sourcing selection processes.
- California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 (SB 657) Effective January 1, 2012, this law requires manufacturers and retailers doing business in the State of California to disclose information regarding their efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from their direct supply chains. Owens Corning is doing this through its sustainable supply chain process.
- U.K. Modern Slavery Act of 2015 Effective October 15, 2015, this law requires companies doing business in the U.K with a financial turnover of £36 million annuals to disclose their business operations and supply chains are slavery free via a “slavery and human trafficking statement.”
Owens Corning honored companies who brought their best to each business deal during the fifth annual Supplier Recognition Day. About 500 people, representing more than 200 suppliers, attended the Sept. 23, 2015 event in Toledo, Ohio, U.S. The awards spanned seven categories with top honor as Supplier of the Year, rewarding extraordinary results across all aspects of the customer-supplier partnership.
- Spirit of Partnership award highlights an interest in mutual growth and profitability, an exchange of innovative solutions and shared resources for value creation.
- Safety award recognizes suppliers for improving the presence of safety at Owens Corning, and for protecting both the suppliers and OC employees around the world.
- Sustainability award recognizes suppliers who adhere to the Owens Corning Supplier Code of Conduct, have a sustainability strategy and advance the company's sustainability goals.
- Innovation award recognizes suppliers who help Owens Corning commercialize innovations in its products and manufacturing processes.
- Risk Mitigation award recognizes suppliers that show both a commitment and tangible actions to identify, quantify and mitigate risks in supplying to Owens Corning and its customers.
- Value Creation award recognizes suppliers providing product, process or service improvements that create measurable value for Owens Corning and its customers.
Owens Corning has an integrated supply chain assessment conducted through an annual supplier survey. Key components of the survey include traceability, transparency, and measuring the impact of suppliers. The supplier survey gives us the opportunity to help suppliers understand and implement sustainable sourcing practices. We use this data to work with and nurture relationships with suppliers. We believe that every supplier should have sustainability goals as part of their performance objectives and measure progress against those goals. Supply chain transparency helps us measure progress of our suppliers, foresee risks and identify opportunities for partnerships to improve social, environmental and economic results.
One indicator of sustainability progress is the publishing of a sustainability report. The majority, 63%, of our suppliers that responded to the survey do not externally report which puts more emphasis on supplier management relationships to understand sustainability efforts.
Though suppliers may not be reporting, it is not an indicator that they are not active in sustainability. Sixty percent of the suppliers responding to the survey say they have environmental goals for their operations.
A key indicator for our suppliers, with 94% responding, is that they meet the criteria in our Supplier Code of Conduct. For those that answered no, we follow up. In most cases the supplier has their own code of conduct and are using that as their guide. We review their codes to assure that it is in concert with ours.
Safety is a material issue for Owens Corning and a key indicator for our supplier base. This is an area we will continue to address and build capability within our supply chain as well as monitor for improvements year over year. Eleven percent of suppliers had an OSHA or other safety citation in the past three years. Owens Corning’s commitment to living safely is unconditional.