Wednesday, July 16, 2014

JLL, Edelman, Baker & McKenzie

My sustainability class took a field trip to three different corporate businesses today and we were given a presentation on their sustainability programs. We were to visit JLL, a commercial real estate company, Edelman, a public relations firm, and Baker and McKenzie, a law firm and see the different sustainability programs that each company does.

Waiting Outside the Jll Presentation Room
We met up in front of our class and took a bus and made our way into Chicago. We pulled up outside of a huge building that looked like it was at least 50 stories high. JLL and Edelman are in the same building so we went into JLL first. Bob Best the head of energy and sustainability at JLL and he gave us a presentation on this. The Energy and Sustainability Services (ESS) at JLL helps other companies become more sustainable and efficient. There is usually a consultation period with their clients of what needs or changes need to be made on their property to make their business more sustainable. What really interested me was the work that JLL did on the Empire State Building. They had a heating problem and the heating system was located in the basement. To replace it, the block would need to be closed and the ground drilled. JLL came up with the idea to replace all the windows by adding an extra layer to them and inserting air between them. This was projected to bring down the Empire State Building's heating problem by 15% but it went above and beyond their expectation and it brought it 
JLL Presentation
down 40%. This energy saving technique made the building more sustainable and it also saved the owner a lot of money. I was curious as to why JLL only focused on commercial real estate and not residential. Apparently they have tried working with residential but it didn't work out too well so they decided to stick to what they know how to do best.

Our next stop was at Edelman a few floors up. John Edelman is the head of global citizenship at Edelman. Our presentation was on what Edelman means by citizenship and was focused on a concept that we learned in class called corporate social responsibility (CSR). CSR is the continuing commitment by businesses to commit to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the community and society at large. John mentioned a trust barometer which highlights that purpose, integrity, and engagement build trust and that is key for a company. Edelman is really big in the purpose aspect of the trust barometer in their community. They consider themselves community members of the world so a lot of the organizations they help are global and worldwide. Edelman has strategies that are meant to reduce the levels of greenhouse gas. They strategies are projected company wide and each section is required to report back on their results. The results weren't really extraordinary and I feel like the company itself should make the strategies a bigger deal for their workers.
Edelman Presentation
We had a lunch break around the fountain in front of the JLL and Edelman building. Millennium Park was close by so our professor let us visit the park for about an hour but we had to find three things that were sustainable in the park and take a picture of them. Once I found my three sustainable items, I got an ice cream sandwich with my friends and we sat and watched the ending performance of a symphony group.
I wish we had gotten there earlier so we could have heard it all. There was another music group playing by the entrance so we went there once the orchestra was done playing. I want to call them a jazz Latin fusion group because most of the songs they played had some Latin influences but it was still jazzy at the same time. The only thing that threw me off about their performance was their singer but I still enjoyed it.

After lunch we visited Baker & McKenzie. David Hackett works mainly with CSR and environmental legal practices and he sat down and talked with us about the environmental services Baker & McKenzie provides. They help companies respond to the risks or opportunities of environmental law and regulation anywhere in the world. When Apple decided to go global and sell the iPhone all over the world, Baker & McKenzie helped them in figuring out what the environmental rules for the packaging was for each country that the iPhone would be sold in. CSR is also something that the company does extensively. There is a whole board dedicated to the company's CSR and they have accomplished so many things globally. From providing pro bono services to people in need and taking steps to make their offices sustainable, I feel like Baker & McKenzie is really diverse in their CSR work and their commitment to go green.

Baker & McKenzie Offfice
Today was a really interesting day for me because I got the chance to visit some really big and successful corporations and I got a pretty clear view on their sustainability programs and their CSR programs. I realize that not many people get this chance and I feel lucky that I got the chance to get a clearer understanding of what each company does specifically to be sustainable and what they do differently. What I want to do with this is see if I can draw any similarities from how each company's sustainability and CSR programs are ran and see how one company would be if they incorporated what the other did into their practices.

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