7. Does the Company Have Any Stated Sustainability Goals?
Some companies have official long-term goals for energy efficiency or other key sustainability issues. Xerox, for example, set a goal in 2005 to lower its worldwide greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent (from 2002 levels) by 2012, even while growing the company. In 2007, it announced that it had already exceeded the original goal and was now aiming at a 25 percent reduction (compared with the original 2002 levels once again) by 2012. Ask whether the company has set any goals for itself and whether it has a track record of setting and meeting goals in the past.
8. What Programs Does the Company Take Part In?
Find out what environmental programs the companies you deal with participate in, and research the programs if you're not familiar with them. Two that are worth keeping in mind are the EPA SmartWay and BRT (Business Roundtable) Climate RESOLVE programs. (RESOLVE is an acronym for Responsible Environmental Steps, Opportunities to Lead by Voluntary Efforts.)
The EPA SmartWay transportation programs apply to products and services that reduce transportation-related emissions, resulting in "significant, measurable air quality and/or greenhouse gas improvements." EPA SmartWay partners include both shippers (Canon, for example) and transportation companies. You might want to ask the companies you buy from if they are SmartWay partners or use transportation companies that are.
The BRT Climate RESOLVE program is, similarly, a voluntary effort to "reduce, offset or sequester" greenhouse gas emissions.
9. What Else Does the Company Do to Encourage Sustainability?
As may be obvious, the questions here are nowhere near exhaustive and aren't meant to be. Different companies can take totally different approaches to green issues, yet still qualify as making significant strides toward sustainability. So be sure to ask an open-ended question about what else the company is doing on green issues. And be prepared to judge each company by the mosaic of everything it does, rather than focusing on a few specific items.