Companies that want to reduce their carbon footprint should look beyond their own operations, and encourage their suppliers to cut energy use.
That's the message in a report from the University of Minnesota's NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise.
Many big companies have already picked the low-hanging fruit of energy savings, said NorthStar program director Tim Smith. Climate change, he added, is such a big problem that single companies -- even big ones -- can't change enough to make much of a difference. If companies can encourage their suppliers to change too, it would have a bigger impact.
Smith cited Wal-Mart Stores as one example of a company that pushes its suppliers to produce products efficiently. Several Minnesota companies are trying the strategy, including 3M, Andersen Windows, and Tennant Company, he said.