环境保护和可持续发展已经是人类的共识，也是人们对企业发展提出的要求。本文是EssayPhD团队应客户要求，根据duke energy定制的环境论文代写原稿，文中从3个方面评估了Duke Energy公司在可持续发展方面做出的实践。
This paper examines Duke Energy’s sustainability practices and discuss how they conform to sustainability principles based on the three pillars of sustainability-economic sustainability, environmental sustainability and social sustainability. Materials have shown that Duke Energy has addressed all these three dimensions of sustainability. Duke Energy has created wealth from power generation and supply and distributed to both shareholders and stakeholders. Besides focusing on investing in its main business, Duke Company also facilitates the investment in community and environmental protection. Environmentally, Duke Energy set ambitious goals to reduce consumption of water, air pollution and solid waster and strive for them. From the perspective of social sustainability, Duke Energy makes efforts to create a healthy and safe workplace for employees. Therefore, generally Duke Energy is on the right path to adopting the sustainable development principles in the development of the company. However, there are some criticisms of company’s environmental misdemeanors and culture diversity.
As the awareness of the limitation of human ecosystem and importance of environmental preservation rises, the concept of sustainability was created to address this issue. The core idea of sustainability is that human should improve their living standard without diminishing the living conditions and ability of the future generations(Gibson, Hassan, & Tansey, 2013). As the understanding of sustainability evolves, scholars propose many detailed and systematic principles to understand and approach sustainability, such as sustainable capitalism(Stern, 1997) and Nature Step Framework(Broman, Holmberg, & Robört, 2000). The three pillars of sustainability-economic sustainability, environmental sustainability and cultural sustainability(Gibson et al., 2013), or it is more advanced version , triple bottom line, is wildly accepted and employed. The action or process to meet all these sustainable goals is sustainable development.
2. Economical sustainability
As stated by Eggert(Eggert, 2009), the mining company should create mineral wealth and deliver the wealth to both its shareholders and stakeholder in an efficient manner. In Duke Energy case, the wealth is electric power and the profit coming from it. According to the stock market data, ending in December 31 2014, Duke Energy generated nearly 60% of return for its investors in the past five years, plus an approximately 5% dividend. Although Duke Energy suffers a sharp decline this year, it is out of company’s control due to the collapse of large energy market. For its customers, Duke Energy provides power at rates lower than the national average in nearly all regions they serve in the last three years(Energy, 2013, 2014, 2015a), helping users save money for energy use. In addition, Duke Energy achieved the goal of maintaining a reliable power supply both in 2013 and in 2014, which reduced potential economic loss caused by power outage(Energy, 2015a).
Efficiency is another important aspect of economic sustainability. Seen from the 2014 sustainability report, Duke Energy certainly knows the importance of efficient use of energy. Its energy-and-money-saving programs initiated in 2006 have kept helping customers improve their efficiency of power usage, by supplying costumers with energy efficient light bulbs, power manage system and participating in the energy efficiency education. From company’s side, Duke Energy is on track of retiring its old coal plants and shifting its energy structure to more renewable one.
In a larger picture, Duke Energy actively engages themselves in regional development and community growth. Its Economic Development Team is responsible for attracting capital investments and businesses for states, thus creating jobs through these opportunities. Its projects include infrastructures, transportation, bindings etc., which can benefit the local communities permanently. Duke energy also donates money to charities through Duke Charity Foundation. These side projects and charitable activities might generate a net positive value and ensure the sustained growth of the company and nation in a long run.
However, there are criticism on Duke Energy’s tax avoidance strategy. According to a report published by Citizens for Tax Justice(Justice, 2012), Duke Energy’s effective federal income was -3.5% from 2008 to 2011, which means during that period Duke Energy actually took money from taxpayers in the form of tax rebate. Coincidently, tax contributions were rarely mentioned in Duke Energy’s sustainability reports. Government plays an important role in redistributing the social wealth in a fair way. Duke Energy’s reluctance to pay tax raises suspicion to its flawless sustainability report.
3. Environmental Sustainability
Environmental sustainability means environment and ecosystem should always have suitable quality for the living of human being and natural species. Furthermore, environment should be independent of human activities and be able to run by itself(Broman et al., 2000). By this principle, mineral exploitation companies must preserve environment and the integrity of ecosystem during and after their operations and compensate for the environmental damage they cause.
As shown in the table 1, the water consumed by Duke Energy is only around 2% of the total water it withdraws from the source and 98% of water has been returned to the source after treatment. Furthermore, the absolute number of consumed water is decreasing in recent years though slightly. Regarding air pollution, CO2, SO2 and NO2 emissions saw a significant decline compared with the benchmark set in 2008. CO2, SO2 and NO2 emissions dropped by 19%, 85% and 64% from 2008 to 2014 respectively(Energy, 2015a). In 2004, Duke Energy recycled 71% of solid waste, similar to previous two years. It plans to increase that rate to 80% in 2018.
One significant improvement for Duke Energy is the number of reported oil spills. Seen from table 3, there was a clear decreasing trend in number of oil spills from 2010 to 2014, which suggested internal oil safety management of Duke Energy was processing steadily. The gallons number was also decreasing except the rebound in 2014 owing to a 9000-gallon spill in Ohio River. The regulator, nonetheless, were informed in a timely manner and cleanup had taken place.
According to the sustainability report, Duke Energy was taking concrete actions in 2014 to recover The Kings Bay in Florida, protect sea turtles in North Carolina and aid in the collection of recyclable trashes at a generating station in Kentucky(Energy, 2015a). However, there were also some not so shining points. From 2010 to 2013, Duke Energy’s wind power projects in Wyoming caused the deaths of in total 163 migratory birds, which costed Duke Energy nearly 100 million dollars to mitigate the consequences(PERALTA, 2013). In 2014, Duke Energy was accused of illegally dumping the coal ashes in several sites in North Carolina. Apparently, Duke Energy failed to identify some environmental problems prior to the implementation of projects and act prudently where risk is uncertain(Mining & Project, 2002).
4. Social Sustainability
Social sustainability tends to answer two questions-whether the distribution of wealth is fair and whether the human rights are properly emphasized(Gibson et al., 2013). Since the politics have been proposed as an additional pillar by some professionals, governance sustainability will be briefly talked and combined in this section.
As discussed in the economic sustainability, Duke Energy not only return profits to shareholders but also employees, supplier, community and environment through a series of activities such as supplier meetings, donations, clean energy development and so on and so forth. Reportedly, its Economic Development Team creates thousands of jobs for local communities and states. It is hard to quantitatively justify the fairness of distribution, but Duke Energy is aware of these issues and strive for all directions.
Another important aspect of social sustainability is human rights and on top of it is the health and safe of stakeholders, including employees and local people influenced by the company’s activities. Examining the statistics, the employ total incident case rate dropped from 0.7 in 2011 to 0.58 in 2014 and the lost workday case rate from 0.22 to 0.17(Energy, 2015a). The safety of workplace was increasing steadily. Duke Energy has initiated several health programs to provide employees with medical treatments for the minor injuries.
Duke Energy, in the report, also bragged about the gender ratio in the company, stating women accounted for 23% of total employees. Considering the 1:1 ratio of women to men in the world, Duke Energy still has a lone way to go before it achieves the goal of empowering women. The demographic distribution of employees in Duke Energy is worse. White people comprised about 85% of the workplace in the last three years, while African-American were only 10% and Hispanic and Asian adding up together were below 3.5%, much lower than national level(Energy, 2015a; Wikipedia, 2015).
In terms of political sustainability, Duke Energy provides engineering expertise on helping the policymaking process and channels millions of money to political research institution and organizations, though no one measures the actual outcome.
Duke Energy is a company that well understand the principles of sustainable development and commit to it. Economically, it creates long-term wealth for investors, business partners and stakeholders at local, regional and national level. Environmentally, it sticks to its plans and makes effort to protect water, manage solid waste, reduce emissions and preserve nature reserve. Socially, it puts health and safety of employees on the top of its list. However, there is room for it to improve. For example, it should build an internal system that enables the company to identify risk and take preventive measures before environmental or safety incidents happen, instead of making amends afterwards.
Broman, G., Holmberg, J., & Robört, K.-H. (2000). Simplicity without reduction: Thinking upstream towards the sustainable society. Interfaces, 30(3), 13-25.
Eggert, R. G. (2009). What sustainability and sustainable development mean in mining In J. Botin (Ed.), Sustainable management of mining operations (pp. 19-32): SME.
Stern, D. I. (1997). The capital theory approach to sustainability: a critical appraisal. Journal of Economic Issues, 145-173.
Wikipedia. (2015). Demographics of the United States.
Willard, B. (2012). The new sustainability advantage: seven business case benefits of a triple bottom line: New Society Publishers.