“Price is what you pay, value is what you get”Warren BuffettMoving beyond one-dimensional capitalism“All capitals are unequal, but some are more unequal than others.”This was a thought that popped into my mind after a number of real-life and online conversations about the concept of multiple capitals. This notion proposes that there is a range of sources of value (capitals) that give rise to economic and social benefits, but that current accounting and economic approaches recognise only one — financial capital.
As we have entered a new year, I’d like to take a closer look at the concept of backcasting for coming up with strategies that marry ‘transformational change’ (as sustainability practitioners like to call those meaningful sustainability outcomes that leap beyond ‘making things less bad’) with viability and desirability.Backcasting? Am I casting my eyes on what lies behind us? No, in fact backcasting looks far ahead in order to create bridges towards desirable outcomes for the future.
In the first two parts of this series, we explored the motivations behind creating a sustainability index, and the steps to take when creating an index. In this final part of the series, we will explore how organizations can deploy an index to make consistent decisions to support a sustainability strategy.After the index has been designed and created, the next task is to deploy it into the decisions-making structure. Let’s explore some examples of how other organizations have deployed this approach to make more sustainable products.
Tetra Pak has launched a new environmental benchmarking service to help food and beverage companies assess the environmental performance of their production operations, and to identify opportunities for improvement.The service provides an audit of the entire plant, including both the processing and packaging lines, assessing performance in areas such as water efficiency, waste water treatment, energy efficiency, product yield and waste, and carbon footprint. Based on this audit, Tetra Pak will then provide specific recommendations on opportunities for improvement, helping customers not only to reduce their environmental impact, but also to lower cost.
On the heels of recent moves aimed at increasing its revenue that are likely to ruffle flyers’ feathers, JetBlue Airways has released a first-of-its-kind report correlating the health of its bottom line with the long-term health of ecosystems.Along with The Ocean Foundation (TOF) and A.T. Kearney, a leading global management consulting firm, JetBlue has released the results of their unique partnership and research focusing on the long-term health of the Caribbean's oceans and beaches, and a commitment to action developed with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).
Hand hygiene and healthy skin company GOJO Industries, maker of the PURELL® Hand Sanitizer, has exceeded its 2015 sustainability goals two years early, according to the company’s new sustainability report.The company reduced water usage by 40 percent, solid waste generated by 36 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 46 percent.The new report emphasizes the company's view of sustainability as an opportunity to create value and includes examples illustrating its success in creating social, environmental and economic value for its business and its stakeholders.
In Part I of this series, we explored the basics of why a company would use a sustainability index to help guide decision-making. Here, we go into further depth on the steps to create such an index.Step 1: Determining what’s importantThe first step in defining a sustainability index is to determine what factors need to be considered for inclusion in the system. What is important to your company, your customers and your stakeholders?
PRé has always believed in and worked for a sustainable future and we believe insight into the environmental and social impacts of products is a crucial step towards this future. Our approach is one of collaboration, working with partners across the world and training companies to use sustainability metrics independently. So when looking for a way to give back, it made sense to us to use our years of experience with Life Cycle Assessment to help the next generation of mission-driven businesses.
You may not have noticed, but on December 13, 2012, the travel industry reached a critical milestone. It was on that date, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), that the one-billionth international tourist arrived at her destination ready to explore the local sites.
The key question for every business model is whether it is viable and sustainable over time. We measure that through a conventional cost-benefit analysis, and we do that even in what are considered sustainable business models. Is that the way to go, and does it reflect all values that are created? Is it at all possible to develop a sustainable business when not all implicit values are valued? The answer, of course, is no, but … how can we do it differently?Assess your business model on more than just money
Across the entire agricultural supply chain — from the farm to the store shelf — the challenge of meeting demand for a rapidly growing population, while conserving natural resources, necessitates a harmonized, science-based approach to measure and communicate sustainability in agriculture. On Friday, Field to Market®: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture announced a partnership with The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) aimed at achieving this goal.
When we work with a company that is just starting its sustainability journey, we try to focus on one central framing question: What does sustainability mean to your organisation? Sustainability has evolved way beyond merely measuring carbon emissions, which means it requires management of many factors. There are a multitude of impacts to consider: impacts on water use and water supply; impacts on human health; and even social impacts on workers and communities.What Does Sustainability Mean to You?
Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise company, has reduced its carbon emissions from shipboard operations by 20 percent one year ahead of schedule, according to the company’s new sustainability report.
Actively managing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has proven to result in direct economic gains for companies. A 2013 KPMG study of the S&P 500 companies found that firm value decreases on average by $212,000 for every additional thousand metric tons of carbon emissions produced. CDP’s Global 500 Climate Change Report 2013 showed that companies who are leaders of sustainability reporting have higher overall returns than companies of the Global 500.
Conservation impact investing totaled approximately $23 billion in the five-year period from 2009 to 2013, according to a new report by EKO Asset Management Partners and The Nature Conservancy’s NatureVest division.During the same period, private investments accounted for almost $2 billion of this market — an amount that is growing at an average of 26 percent annually, and is expected to reach more than $5.6 billion by 2018.
In part one of this two-part series, I wrote about the complexity of sustainability data and the challenges associated with organizing, analyzing and integrating it into our day-to-day business systems. At this time, however, the majority of the data used to address our sustainability programs and goals is environmental data. The sustainability field has a pretty good handle on the use and impacts of utilities, materials, transport, etc. What we may not be as familiar with are the data that help support our social sustainability objectives, and the methodologies that allow us to do product social footprinting.
By now, most readers of these pages will have noticed the emergence of social and environmental monetization schemes intended to quantify in financial terms the otherwise non-financial impacts of organizations. But do these schemes really qualify as sustainability measurement and reporting systems or even integrated reporting methods as some of their makers claim?
The Clorox Company has reduced its greenhouse gases emissions by 12 percent and the amount of waste it sends to landfill per case of product sold by 34 percent since 2011, according to the company’s 2014 integrated annual report. Altogether, these footprint reductions and product sustainability improvements have averaged $15 million in annual cost savings since 2008, helping to offset raw material cost increases and enable investments in innovation and demand creation.
On Wednesday, I had the pleasure to attend Metrics that Matter, Messages that Motivate — Making the Right Case for Sustainability in Healthcare, an event hosted by The Wharton Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (Wharton IGEL) and Johnson & Johnson at Wharton’s West coast campus in San Francisco. Geoffrey Garrett, recently named dean of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, kicked things off by emphasizing the importance of sustainability in every area of our daily lives.