Johnson Controls has long been touted as a sustainability leader and progressive company for which to work. The manufacturing and technology company touches our lives in ways that may not be obvious but are nonetheless important, from car batteries for conventional and hybrid automobiles to buildings’ heating and cooling systems. From the smallest office building to the Empire State Building, the chances are that you are in an environment touched by a Johnson Controls product.

But in addition to the creation of the gadgets and systems that allow buildings and vehicles to operate, Johnson Controls is working on making those products better and more efficient. Meanwhile the Milwaukee based company has a record as a solid corporate citizen, model for transparency and corporate governance and leader in green building. The $40 billion company with 162,000 employees across the globe builds on its track record with the release of its 2011 Business and Sustainability Report.

Highlights of Johnson Controls’ 2011 Report include:

Environmental sustainability: The company rolled out an environmental scorecard in 2009 to measure its performance against six metrics: energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, waste diversion, ISO 14001 compliance and sustainable design. With the exception of its waste output, all of the metrics saw an improvement in performance over 2010 levels. Johnson Controls is currently managing 370 energy efficiency projects; half have been completed and saved the company $5 million in energy costs.

Green design: Johnson Controls' “design for sustainability” review process has its origins in 1883 when Warren Johnson invented the electric room thermostat. Almost 130 years later, the company embeds sustainability thinking in all facets of its products’ design. Currently the company is testing a lifecycle assessment tool to estimate the energy and carbon content in all of its products. Johnson Controls is also a global leader in battery recycling. Its power solutions division opened a new battery recycling center in South Carolina and is investing $70 million in another facility in Mexico.

Engaged employees: The performance of Johnson Controls' employees and their commitment to the communities in which they work reflect the investment the company makes in its global staff. Employees donated 150,000 hours while the company contributed $15.5 to local communities and organizations. Almost 85 percent of those donated funds went to social services, education and arts programs. Diversity is also practiced within the company and throughout its supply chain: 14 percent of Johnson Controls' executives are minorities and the company committed $1.68 billion to supplier diversity.

Supply chain management: Any company with 300,000 suppliers around the world has a huge task at hand in ensuring that their suppliers conduct business in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. The company maintains a bevy of assessments to monitor their vendors, and to that end, over 140 of the firm’s largest suppliers submitted data to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). Johnson Controls’ initiatives at present involved working with its supply chain on waste disposal, recycling, purchasing clean energy and the reduction of logistics-related greenhouse gas emissions.

Ranking number one in Corporate Responsibility magazine’s ranking and consistently landing on “best places to work” rankings does not happen in a vacuum. Learn more about what is behind Johnson Controls’ sustainability performance and corporate social responsibility initiatives, starting with its disclosures using the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) framework.

Published earlier today on Triple Pundit.

Photo of Johnson Controls Headquarters in Milwaukee courtesy Johnson Controls Press Room.

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.