We couldn’t wait to share Alexandre Magnin’s Triple Bottom Line: the Science of Good Business. Check out Magnin’s idea of looking at the triple bottom line from a scientific angle. This viewpoint can provide businesses with more insight into why integrating sustainable efforts into business operations can be a great thing for more than one reason. And it’s less than 5 minutes! Check it out.
Save the date for the premier annual event for sustainable business leaders. GreenBiz19 will take place in Phoenix, AZ from February 26-28 and you can subscribe to updates in order to ensure you don’t miss out on any of the details. Curious to know more about what you might take away from this powerful meeting? You can check out the GreenBiz18 Virtual Event archive!
Enjoy this post from the SSC Archives.
A few summer ago, the World Resources Institute and the UNEP Finance Initiative consulted with more than 100 energy, climate, and finance experts to create a discussion framework for investors to weigh exposure to the risks of climate change.
Essentially, it is a toolkit for investors to evaluate a company based on climate risk factors not directly related to physical risk. Most investors can already pick out obvious physical risks, i.e. investing in coastal property as sea levels rise. But non-physical, climate-change effected risks are also important.
The WRI discussion framework addresses those risks, called carbon-asset risks. They include public policy, regulation, technology, unpredictable market conditions, and shifting public opinion.
This discussion framework is an excellent tool for investors to weigh risks as they choose to make investments, but we argue that companies themselves should be looking at this tool to discover their own carbon asset risks and then engaging in some deeper-level analyses and audits.
For example, the assessment recommends that investors look beyond carbon footprinting and delve deeper into company supply chain audits that may uncover risks. For example:
- Geographic location (are too many of your suppliers in the path of a super-typhoon?),
- Local regulations (are the countries your source your raw materials from looking to legislate and increase your costs?),
- Diversification in operations or production (are your products and services too dependent on fossil fuels?).
This discussion framework, while absolutely useful for investors, can also be used as a cheat sheet for your own business. Next step: Start auditing and taking action now to mitigate your climate risk.
Reducing exposure to risk is crucial, not only to become more attractive to investors, but also to become a more sustainable organization overall!
If you’re ready to start looking more deeply at your carbon asset risk, contact us to learn more about sustainability assessment and supply chain analysis.
When it comes to the mining industry, we know that there is a lot at stake for the environment. However, we don’t often think about mining companies as business that care about sustainability.
While fossil fuels and mining companies tend to be dismissed as unable to create sustainable strategies, but many companies in the mining industry are trying to mitigate their impact.
At Strategic Sustainability Consulting we have worked with mining companies, like Teck Resources Limited and a global resource leader in Scandinavia.
Through our work with natural resource companies, we helped to identify emerging sustainability trends and best practices in the mining industry. The result of which has been that Teck has garnered national and international attention for its sustainability performance. In fact, in 2017 they were recognized among the best of their peers for social and environmental responsibility.
Mining companies can care.
And in an industry this big, with heavy materials circling the globe and creating significant environmental impacts, it’s vital that those in the sustainability field continue to push for more companies to embrace changes like Teck.
While the traditional corporate responsibility agenda has required that mining companies work with greater transparency and coordinate with local communities during the life of their projects, the sustainability agenda for mining is getting broader. For example, the industry itself has so much to lose if they do not try to understand and manage global trends, including the intense pressure their business is putting on the world’s very limited natural resources.
With alternative energy solutions taking off, we might think there is less need for mining, but as the population continues to increase (we are closing in on 9 or 10 billion) — and more and more of us have disposable income, our demands on these resources just keep growing. Unfortunately at the same time the demand is rising, the richness of ores (the “ore grade”) has been in long-run decline for most elements. Copper ore grade is down from 4% a century ago to well under 1% now (and falling). Copper mining isn’t just affected by natural resource pressures; it embodies natural resource constraints.
With all this information available, we must continue to monitor mining companies and encouraging them to engage in more mindful practices that can lessen their negative impact on the world around us all.
We try to post a new blog at least once a week, just to share our insights into the world of sustainability strategy and what it takes to be a sustainability consultant or professional today. Here are our most-read posts from May.
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Everyone loves a good TED Talk! Here’s one of our favorites:
We may all have too many clothes in our closet that we keep meaning to sort through and donate, but did you ever think about the clothes that never make it to anyone’s closet? If you thought that last season's unpurchased coats, pants and tops ended up being put to use, you’re wrong. Sadly most of it (nearly 13 million tons each year in the United States alone) ends up in landfills. Clearly the world of fashion has a massive waste problem, and Amit Kalra wants to fix it. Here are some creative ways that he believes the industry can evolve to be more conscientious about the environment —and gain a competitive advantage at the same time.
You may have thought about the pros and cons of from home, but there is a lot for someone managing a remote workforce to think about when a company expands their telework policy. You may not be certain that this would be the best choice for your company, but the truth of the matter is having a remote workforce is a green solution. Think about it, no more long commutes for your team members just so everyone can sit in the same office. We’ve pulled together some guidelines that will help make managing a remote team work for your company.
First as a sustainability company, you know that employees who switch to telecommuting impacts carbon emissions—as soon as a person stop driving into work they reduce their carbon footprint in a big way. Multiply that by a larger population of the workforce and that impact increases dramatically. Sara Sutton Fell highlighted how a few large corporations who were encouraging workers to telecommute had a major impact in her piece, How Telecommuting Reduced Carbon Footprints at Dell, Aetna and Xerox, for Entrepreneur in 2015. It’s been a few years, so think about how much more we can do remotely!
Fell pointed out that Global Workplace Analytics had determined 50% of the American workforce had telecommute-compatible jobs. If those individuals all worked from home half the time it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 54 million metric tons annually, the equivalent of taking almost 10 million cars off the road. It would also reduce annual oil consumption by 640 million barrels. You know that these changes would be an incredible boon for the environment.
Speaking of oil, the U.S. Energy Information Administration notes that the U.S. uses approximately 19 million barrels of oil every day. If people worked from home part-time, 1.75 million of those barrels—almost 10 percent—would be eliminated. Plus, a CoSo Cloud study suggested that 77 percent of the remote employees it studied were more productive than office-bound employees. Clearly companies implementing wider work-from-home policies are seeing positive impacts in three big ways:
• the company benefits thanks to cost savings, higher productivity and employee retention
• the environment benefits due to the reduction of carbon footprints
• and the individual team members benefit because they have a better work-life balance (and can feel good about positively impacting the environment).
Who can say no to such a win-win-win situation?
Okay so all of that sounds great, but you might not be sure how to best manage your team from a distance or how to keep them engaged with their peers and their projects. William Morrow offered some insight into the challenges of managing an off-site team in his recent article Don’t Even Try Managing a Remote Team Without These Tools.
What are the main challenges to a remote work force? Different time zones or communication and collaboration issues among team members can be a hindrance to productivity. It can also be more challenging to build up strong relationships within your team if they are never in the same place at the same time. To help you combat these challenges, Morrow highlights some of the top tools that will keep your team on the same page, starting as soon as they onboard. He suggests utilizing ClickMeeting for this process. It is a platform built for webinars that is commonly used as a virtual conference room. It also enable your organization to deliver presentations that allow remote workers to engage in real time as well as share documents, illustrate information with a whiteboard feature, and run Q&A sessions for your remote attendees, keeping everyone on the same page.
Morrow also suggest finding a platform that that will allow your new employees to gain skills from hands on training while they work (particularly if they are working in a tech capactity). Setting up a virtual lab environment, like MicroTek, allows team members to experiment and make mistakes without negative consequences to your company.
But on top of the hiring and initial workflow, you also need to think about HR and technology issues. Whether they are in the office or working remotely, all members of your team will be more productive if their computers and other devices are running smoothly and they feel invested in the company as individuals. Check out the BambooHR suite, which provides a valuable employee-appraisal platform, and TeamViewer to help you deal with remote tech issues.
Then, and this is perhaps the trickiest part, you need to find a good solution to support communication and collaboration among the team. There are a number of tools that can help your team continue to be cohesive, but Slack and Google Drive are definitely among the top performers in this area.
Now remember all of these helpful platforms require a password and since you should be creating unique and complex passwords for everything, consider an option like LastPass or 1Password to help you keep track of these. A site like these allows you to store every password associated with your online accounts which means you only have to remember one master password — the one that logs you in to the password-manager application. Bonus: administrators can select which remote employees can log in to which online accounts, and set expiration dates for access.
You’ve got all your processes in place — great! — but you still need to help keep your employees engaged with their jobs and each others. While your team is likely to be more productive at home where they can avoid all the office distractions, Ryan Gellis notes that you have to make sure your workforce has a sense of cohesion. To create this positive team culture from a distance you need to make sure to use the right technology (as Morrow mentioned), plan for in-person activities ranging from a coffee hour to happy hour to fancy dinner out. It is clear that meeting in person, when possible, boosts a team’s connection even if that meeting is purely a social outing.
Another key to keeping your staff members engaged is inspiring communication among everyone — yourself included. If you are available, your staff is likely to be more tuned in. Also set core hours — even if it is just 4 or 5 hours midday —because having a set time where everyone is available via email, phone or chat will help keep the projects progressing in a timely fashion.
So if you are thinking about expanding your remote workforce — you can do it! It’s great for the environment, your employees, and likely, your company’s bottom line.
Enjoy this post from the SSC Archives.
Warning: This short video is so loaded with details, you might want to watch it twice!
Instead of batting around vague promises about the “savings” an organization will realize by making sustainable change, put your plan into language that business leaders understand. Provide dollars-and-cents analyses based on real case studies to demonstrate the impact of sustainable business practices.
How did you make your business case for sustainability? Let us know in the comments.
This month we picked Alexandre Magnin’s 3 Strategic Questions to help make the best sustainable decisions. As a sustainability consultant, you know that your clients may find socio-ecological sustainability issues complex and daunting. Thankfully even though there are a lot of factors to consider, there are also tools and frameworks that can be very helpful in firming up with a plan.
It’s not too late to join your peers at VERGE Hawaii from June 12–14 in Honolulu. You can be a part of 800 stakeholders — from corporations, government, military, utilities, NGOs and solution providers — who will work together to create new partnerships and explore emerging technologies and trends that will increase economic and community resilience. And if you register by May 11 you can still take advantage of the early bird rate! Get your toes in the sand and your head in the clean economy game.