Employee Q&A: Sustainable Growth for Building Insulation

Patrick Haller, Director of Strategy and Sustainability - Insulation
Jul 10, 2024 1:15 PM ET
Patrick Haller

Our people making a difference is a series featured throughout Owens Corning’s 2023 Sustainability Report.

Although Patrick Haller’s academic background is in chemical engineering, his passion for the environment has led him to pursue a somewhat different career path. He has worked in research and development, strategy, and marketing, and now he brings all of this knowledge to Owens Corning, where he focuses on market-facing sustainability for our Insulation business. Patrick’s in-depth knowledge has been a key part of our approach to sustainable growth, and he shares his insights with us here.

On the benefits of being a global leader in our industry 

I think that being a global business is a massive opportunity because we can learn from each other. In Europe, for example, they’ve already advanced a lot further than the U.S. from a cultural standpoint of demanding sustainable outcomes for businesses. We can learn from their regulatory structures and drive technical and business learnings. We’ve already made significant progress in electrifying our stone wool assets in Europe. We were helped along by customer demands and also by regulations that require our customers to improve the products that they choose. That applies to recycled content as well. That gives us a stronger business case to invest in technology development in Europe, which we can learn from in the U.S. and other markets.

On the importance of growth within our approach to sustainability 

There are two overarching reasons for focusing on sustainable growth, one external and one internal. The external reason is that economic growth is a really powerful engine for improving people’s lives. But in order to do that, we have to decouple it from exploitation of the environment and some of the things that in the long term are not sustainable. This is a technical market, regulatory, and cultural challenge.

Internally, we’re a for-profit company and we have investors who want returns from us. For our employees, growth is exciting and makes us a better place to work for in the long term. I think that’s where it gets really interesting, because our particular enterprise and the markets we serve give us phenomenal opportunities to grow sustainably. Insulation is the most obvious, because when you insulate a building and make it more energy efficient, we can have a net positive impact. When you look across a range of different sectors and industries around the world, we’re perfectly positioned to help lead sustainable growth from a for-profit company perspective.

On operationalizing sustainability within Owens Corning 

One of the things that we’re working on right now is to really reinforce that sustainability is core to the mission of our business, and that comes from everywhere. This is not a top-down push. This is about harnessing the energy, enthusiasm, passion, and purpose of our people around the world to help drive results for both the sustainability and business standpoint. Being global really helps with that too because it’s one thing that can unite all of us. We all recognize that this is one of the biggest challenges that humanity has faced and we’re all responsible for solving it. So it creates a ton of opportunities.