Transparency Vital to Sustainability Engagement, Iron Mountain Executive Says

Kevin Hagen,  director of corporate responsibility at Iron Mountain (NYSE: IRM), joined REIT.com for a video interview at NAREIT’s 2016 Leader in the Light Working Forum at the Ritz Carlton – Coconut Grove in Miami.

Iron Mountain is an S&P 500 company that provides storage and information management services in 36 countries.

Hagen described transparency as “the currency of the realm” when it comes to sustainability: “There really is no substitute for it.”

According to Hagen, sharing information about the company’s sustainability successes and failures with all of its stakeholders is necessary in light of some skepticism that still surrounds corporate efforts to go green and socially responsible business practices.

“It makes our successes so much more powerful when we can also share the rest of the journey,” Hagen said.

Meanwhile, Hagen said that as Iron Mountain analyzes its previous sustainability projects, it has discovered a familiar pattern.  In many cases, a change that initially seems impossible to make can eventually be implemented through the application of creative thinking. Ultimately, the change is not viewed as a sustainability project, but simply as good business, he added.

A case in point is Iron Mountain’s attitude toward energy efficiency.

Early on, the company didn’t pay much attention to energy costs, Hagen said. Over time, however, Iron Mountain changed its attitude as it realized that energy costs were not only growing quickly, but they were volatile and created business uncertainty.

Iron Mountain also discovered it was using high amounts of brown energy. Initially, a switch to green energy sources was viewed as impossible, Hagen said. However, “creative thinking” led to the installation of solar panels.

“Not only was that a good idea, but it stabilized our rates and reduced our costs against the grid,” Hagen said.

Iron Mountain has been able to apply its solar expertise to the purchase of around 40 megawatts of wind turbine power being installed in Pennsylvania, Hagen noted.

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