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Johnson Controls Unveils Sustainability Commitments

10 February 2021

Johnson Controls, the global leader for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, has announced new environmental, social and governance commitments. These include science-based targets as well as a net zero carbon pledge to support a healthy, more sustainable planet over the next two decades. The company’s and customers’ emissions reduction will be driven by Johnson Controls’ OpenBlue technologies and innovations which leverage big data and artificial intelligence to optimize buildings sustainability.

“Sustainability is at the heart of our business and fundamental to everything that we do as a company,” said George Oliver, chairman and CEO, Johnson Controls. “Today’s announcement reinforces our continued commitment to developing best in class climate solutions, and OpenBlue will empower our customers to streamline building operations and uncover energy efficiencies that will help meet their environmental goals. We continue to make sustainability a top priority for the company, our customers and our suppliers, and have set ambitious goals that will drive significant improvements in carbon emissions.”


New ESG Commitments


“Our commitments reinforce the urgency to make positive changes that will improve the health of our planet, and we believe we are uniquely positioned to help customers and suppliers achieve their sustainability goals, in addition to our own”


– Kate McGinty
Vice President, Johnson Controls


The launch of the new commitments will enable Johnson Controls to deliver quantifiable efforts to reduce carbon emissions, drive climate-focused innovation and work closely with customers and suppliers to meet sustainability goals as well as measurable impact against its three key OpenBlue healthy building pillars – healthy people, healthy places and a healthy planet. These commitments are split into categories of focus below.


Environmental Sustainability Commitments:

  1. Set science-based targets consistent with the most ambitious 1.5°C Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scenario
  2. Reduce Johnson Controls’ operational emissions by 55 percent and reduce customers’ emissions by 16 percent before 2030
  3. Achieve net zero carbon emissions before 2040, in line with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Race to Zero and Business Ambition for 1.5°C criteria
  4. Invest 75 percent of new product development R&D in climate-related innovation to develop sustainable products and services
  5. Achieve 100 percent renewable electricity usage globally by 2040

Customer and Supply Chain Commitments:

  1. Double annual avoided emissions by 2030 through customer use of Johnson Controls OpenBlue digitally enabled products and services
  2. Create a supplier sustainability council with cohorts of suppliers, and their tier-one suppliers, and provide suppliers with training on sustainability best practices and OpenBlue digital tools in order to meet ambitious, public sustainability goals
  3. Weight sustainability equal to other key metrics in supplier performance evaluations and provide a preference for suppliers with excellent sustainability ratings

Social and Governance Sustainability Commitments:

  1. Intends to double the representation of women leaders globally and minority leaders in the United States within five years
  2. Launch an initiative to educate the next generation of diverse sustainable building industry leaders, in partnership with HBCUs
  3. Include sustainability and diversity goals in senior leaders’ performance assessments, which are linked to executive compensation to drive accountability
  4. Launch an initiative focused on underserved markets and increase Johnson Controls’ spend with women and minority owned businesses


“Our commitments reinforce the urgency to make positive changes that will improve the health of our planet, and we believe we are uniquely positioned to help customers and suppliers achieve their sustainability goals, in addition to our own,” said Katie McGinty, vice president & chief sustainability, government and regulatory affairs officer at Johnson Controls. “We are excited to step up the role we play and will continue to innovate and uncover new pathways to meet our goals which will contribute to healthier people, healthier places and a healthier planet.”


OpenBlue Support for Customer Sustainability Initiatives


Johnson Controls is committed to supporting its customers’ sustainability and carbon reduction efforts through its OpenBlue platform. The OpenBlue Enterprise Manager can deliver up to 30 per cent energy savings in buildings and a corresponding drop in CO2 emissions. Notably, the platform was recently used to identify over $100,000 in savings after just 30 days for a large customer portfolio. Powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, the platform facilitates real-time monitoring, benchmarking and analysis of energy consumption and demand. It also enables customers to produce indoor environmental quality reports to help achieve healthy building and wellness certifications.


Education Initiative to Diversify the Buildings Workforce and Train Future Sustainability Leaders


The way in which buildings are designed, managed and maintained has a significant environmental and social impact on building occupants. As such, Johnson Controls, in partnership with HBCUs, will launch an initiative to develop and implement an educational program that will support the training and education of more than one thousand sustainability champions from HBCUs and selected universities around the world in environmental sustainability, energy equity, healthy building practices and building decarbonization solutions. The company’s nine global OpenBlue Innovation Centers will also provide the students with support in the application of digital tools to improve new and existing buildings.

As a leader in the buildings space for 135 years, Johnson Controls has been a pioneer in sustainability and is ranked in the top 12 percent of climate leadership companies globally by CDP and was named one of Corporate Knights’ Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies. Recently George Oliver has been named Chairman of the Business Roundtable Energy and Environment Committee where he is driving policies that preserve the environment and maximize sustainable energy options. Johnson Controls is taking significant steps to drastically improve its environmental impact while empowering customers and future generations to consume less energy, conserve resources, and identify pathways to achieving healthy, net zero carbon communities. In January, Chris Havers from Acclaro Advisory explained how others in the FM industry can follow suit on net zero initiatives as we build back in the industry's economy this year.

Article written by Bailey Sparkes | Published 10 February 2021


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