Our economy assigns values to just about everything except for the things that matter most. As far as the current economy is concerned, a tree holds value only if it is cut down, an animal only if it is slaughtered and a person only if they contribute to the GDP. When we are given the price of an item, many values and certain costs are often excluded, which results in the destruction of natural resources, decline in human health and an economy that is less productive than it could be.
Many experts have observed in recent months that innovating for sustainability seems to be attracting mainstream attention, particularly at Fortune 500 companies and among forward-looking social entrepreneurs. The growth of the Sustainable Brands community certainly supports that claim, with an audience of over 2,800 boasting more than $4 trillion in combined annual revenue represented at SB’13 earlier this summer. At the same time, however, in the majority of cases sustainability is still not part of firms' core strategies. And we can’t expect to be on the right long-term trajectory if all we do is encourage employees to switch to double-sided printing.
Open the news in the US and you hear two conflicting messages: “We are on our way to becoming energy independent using fossil fuel” and “The biggest challenge we face is getting off fossil fuel.” The inconvenient truth is that we don’t know how to quantify our dependence on fossil fuel nor do we have a metric for Energy Productivity and Environmental Performance.
There’s been a lot of talk about the power of Big Data in our modern digital economy. But tech experts will be the first to tell you “Big Data” is a marketing term, not a magic bullet. While it’s important to know how to best aggregate and make sense of the massive amounts of information available about your customers, there’s a more critical point you need to address right away about the nature of people’s data:It’s going to disappear.
Calling all innovators & implementers! This month, Sustainable Brands will relaunch an Issue in Focus editorial channel dedicated to showcasing the New Metrics of sustainable business success (#NewMetrics).With the help of our guest editors, corporate sustainability architect Bill Baue and Paul Herman of HIP Investor, the SB editorial team is seeking features, interviews, columns and case studies to publish throughout the year. This is a great opportunity to showcase the innovations you and your organization have pioneered — sustainable business metrics that strategically link to financial, ecological and social performance.
As a growing slice of a larger corporate push to develop more creative solutions to sustainability challenges, impact investing encourages financial actors to consider social and environmental issues when making investment decisions.These financial actors can range from first-generation entrepreneurs who have already integrated sustainability into their company DNA to foundations, family offices and institutions that invest in portfolios that align with their mission, as well as Fortune 500 companies.
Cross-Posted from Marketing and Comms.
Companies that set tangible sustainability goals do a better job of improving both their financial and environmental performance, according to a new white paper by CH2M HILL, a global consulting, design, construction and operations firm.Sustainability Goals That Make an Impact focuses on the link between sustainability goal-setting, environmental and financial performance, and stakeholder recognition, making the case for setting more tangible goals.
Bob Willard is an expert on quantifying and selling the business value of corporate sustainability strategies. He serves on the advisory boards of The Natural Step Canada and Forum for the Future US, and his fourth book, The New Sustainability Advantage was published in 2012.
Every now and then, as I discuss various products Sustainable Brands has to offer to our growing community of brands and solution providers, I mention our New Metrics of Sustainable Business conference and I detect either a blank stare or a confused nod. When I pause to find out why, I typically get a response gravitating around these questions: “What exactly are these New Metrics you speak of? How do they affect my company, and why should I care?”Simply put, New Metrics (#NewMetrics) is an umbrella term for the latest and most successful ways businesses are creating and capturing entirely new forms of value, or quantifying previously ignored economic, social and environmental impacts and opportunities.
A new analysis reveals that some business activities do not generate sufficient profit to cover their natural resource use and pollution costs, creating large, hidden risks that affect some industries operating in certain regions of the world. The analysis can help businesses and investors take account of natural capital costs to help manage risk and gain competitive advantage.
Cutting the fluff out of reporting by looking at some of the root causes of sustainability challenges may help stakeholders to better understand in how far the majority of companies are part of the problem or can be part of the solution to human survival.
Cross-Posted from Marketing and Comms.
"Basing your decision to have a greenhouse gas emissions target on the fact that climate science has identified a problem, and then to turn around and set a target that doesn't reflect what that science says, for us is incongruous." That’s what Kevin Rabinovitch, global sustainability director at Mars, the privately held food and beverage company,
eBay has released a new Digital Service Efficiency (DSE) dashboard to monitor and analyze the cost, performance and environmental impact of customer buy and sell transactions in an effort to balance and tune its technical infrastructure, according to a recent announcement.
Today, the Ecosystem Markets Task Force (EMTF), an independent task force aimed at finding new opportunities for UK businesses to drive green economic growth, released its Final Report stating the opportunities available for businesses that properly value nature
Shell released new scenarios last week that explore two possible futures with dramatically different implications for society and the world’s energy system. One scenario sees cleaner-burning natural gas becoming the most important energy source globally by the 2030s and early action to limit carbon dioxide emissions. The other sees solar becoming the top source by about 2070, but with slower action to address the threat of climate change.The New Lens Scenarios look at trends in the economy, politics and energy as far ahead as 2100, and underscore the critical role government policies could play in shaping the future.
Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Gucci and Heinz reported their forest impacts for the first time this year, but the gap between leading companies and laggards is growing, according to the fourth annual Forest Footprint Disclosure (FFD) Report.Every year FFD asks the world’s biggest firms to reveal their impact on forests based on the use of five chief commodities — soy, palm oil, timber and pulp, cattle products and biofuels. According to FFD, last year 100 companies disclosed their forest footprints, a 15 percent increase over the previous year.