When Andersen Corp. signed the Ceres Climate Declaration last month, we joined more than 1,250 companies in publicly showing our support and belief that climate change is both the greatest challenge, and greatest opportunity, of our era. In reviewing the list of companies that have already signed this declaration, we were surprised to learn that we were the first major window and door company to sign – and only the second major building products company to do so. (Owens Corning has also signed on.) 

The declaration has been signed by more than 1,000 companies and is a call to action on the rising ecological, economic, and human costs of climate change. It has been signed by prominent companies like Apple, General Motors, Disney, Nestle, and Nike. But, it has not gained much steam in the building industry. Why not? 

Buildings are still responsible for a significant proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions. As a community of building products manufacturers, we all share in the responsibility to produce durable, energy-efficient products that help our customers reduce energy consumption, lower utility costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This declaration is just one way of acknowledging and embracing that sense of responsibility. 

Ceres created the Climate Declaration in 2013 as a way to accelerate the adoption of sustainable business practices in order to build a healthy global economy. It recognizes the vast gains to be made when companies work together not out of a sense of obligation but because it is the right thing to do. Andersen is proud to join the ranks of leading companies that recognize the need for collaborative commitment as a powerful force of change in the face of deeply entrenched challenges. 

Think it hasn’t been done before? As a founding member of the U.S. Green Building Council, we’ve had a front-row seat to the amazing progress that can be achieved when multiple stakeholders sign on the dotted line and commit to solving complex challenges with a systems approach. As of October 2014, more than 3.3 billion square feet of building space were LEED certified. This achievement was only possible because leading businesses came together to drive change with measurable results. 

But there is more work to be done. Buildings are still responsible for a significant proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, residential and commercial buildings were responsible for 40% of U.S. energy consumption in 2013 – a figure that does not include the energy impacts associated with manufacturing, transporting or disposing of building products. 

The challenge – and opportunity – we now face is expanding access to green building strategies and products across all new construction and existing buildings. Adding our signature to this declaration affirms our responsibility to provide durable, energy-efficient products that are part of the solution. We also believe the time is right to apply a “whole community” approach to addressing these systemic challenges. That is why Andersen intends to continue collaborating with business leaders, governments, and NGOs outside the building industry. 

Signing the Ceres Environmental Declaration is not a hollow gesture. It carries the promise of an era of prosperity and sustainable growth for leaders in all industries. We are ready to welcome you to the ranks – join us today.