Enterprises that embrace sustainability as more than just a buzzword may see big payoffs in a wide range of business initiatives. That’s the message from aluminum industry leader Alcoa, which uses sustainability goals to guide everything from green manufacturing policies to product development and community activities.

Just how serious is Alcoa about sustainability? “For 2010, a portion of the variable compensation of Alcoa leaders will be linked to sustainability goals,” says Bill O’Rourke, Alcoa senior vice president of sustainability.

The company promotes sustainability in its internal operations through health and safety programs for its employees. Externally, sustainability applies to activities that support communities surrounding its plants. Alcoa also extols aluminum’s sustainability advantages in product designs. “Replacing 2 pounds of steel with 1 pound of aluminum in a car saves 20 pounds of CO2 emissions over the life of the car,” O’Rourke says.

He also notes that 60 percent of the aluminum now used in automobile manufacturing comes from recycled materials. “It takes 95 percent less energy to make a product from recycled aluminum,” O’Rourke says.

Alcoa isn’t alone in seeing sustainability as a competitive differentiator, says Rich Kroes, Oracle director of product strategy. The concept can help companies reduce costs throughout their supply chains, open new markets for products and services, enhance brand management; and guide regulatory compliance.

“As sustainability evolves in enterprises, it’s quickly moving to the heart of business process strategies, including supply chain optimization,” Kroes says.

View the Webcast Sustainability for Roll Goods Value Chain Companies. Go to launch.oracle.com or isdportal.oracle.com and enter your e-mail address, name and use the PIN roll1 to log in. Then go to the Sustainability tab.