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!
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.
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.
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.
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 April.
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Perhaps when you travel you are the type to throw everything for weeks in a single backpack and rough it, but it seems like most of us are falling into a dangerous mindset where going on vacation (or even attending an event) changes the rules when it comes to sustainable practices.
You might give in and do everything the easiest way possible because, well, you’re on vacation! What’s the big deal about buying a bottle of water everywhere you go? Or loading up your plate a little more than necessary in the morning at the hotel’s breakfast buffet only to have to throw a third of the food away? But there is so much we should be doing when traveling or attending events in order to minimize our detrimental impact on the environment — particularly as sustainability consultants!
Here are some areas where you can improve your personal level of waste while traveling or organizing events while at the same time encouraging your clients to make changes. First you may need to help your clients better understand the benefits that come from implementing a sustainable development strategy which incorporates people, planet and profit for long term success. Sam Trainor-Buckingham outlines that there are many practical benefits for the hospitality industry in this area.
In so many travel experiences people encounter a buffet. This overstocked and overwhelming area of a hotel or cruise is, in actuality, greatly contributing to a massive food waste problem.
The FAO reports up to one third of food is spoiled or discarded before consumption, a terrible thing when 800 million people around the globe are considered chronically hungry.
We are particularly guilty of this wasteful behavior in the United States where per capita food waste has increased by ~50% since 1974, with each individual generating upwards of 220 pounds of food waste per year.
A recent study found that only slightly more than half the food put out in hotel buffets is actually consumed so not only is food going to waste, but hotels are wasting money by overstocking. With this info in mind, some hotels are looking to improve their offerings in order to minimize waste such as offering smaller plates, having stations with nutrition information and more.
But it isn’t just a hotel issue. We are a culture where food seems to be everywhere and we need to be more mindful of how we can reduce this terrible problem. Just a few weeks ago Ashley Weisman published A Step-by-Step Guide to Zero Waste Events on Greenbiz.com. Weisman issues a challenge — to make zero-waste events the new norm.
In order to do so you must collaborate with your venue and your vendors. With the right information, you can work to divert waste to compost and recycling. You just need to make sure you ask the correct questions, such as: What type of waste infrastructure does the venue have in place? How is food waste normally disposed of ? Where at the venue can you intercept waste between the event and the landfill? Are there compost and recycling bins in the kitchen for meal prep?
For zero-waste events you also need to make sure that the back of house staff is trained, which should take no more than 10-15 minutes, including time for questions. This will allow you to list what items are compostable and recyclable, explain why it matters and how their efforts will make a difference and add that responsible waste management is becoming the new normal. Just think, your event will not only have an immediate impact, but it could make an impression on vendors, the venue, the attendees and the staff who may work toward adopting similar practices for future events.
The bottom line is that this waste is not only hurting the environment, but it is also hurting businesses bottom lines. It’s time to work with your clients to help them improve their food offerings, the way they handle waste, and the items they chose from the start. In time, they are bound to be pleased with a reduced footprint and a reduced budget.
It seems like everything is online these days. And sure, you may be thinking “I am a sustainability consultant, what do I know about data management?” The answer is: probably not enough.
While a lot of good comes from “the cloud,” there are a number of factors we need to address as business consultants. You have a responsibility to protect your client’s data, your own materials, and also the best way to advise your clients to take their social responsibility to protect their business, employees and customers, too.
Most of us are working with a content management program to help manage workflow. It’s easy! Everyone on the team can get into the same projects! As the number of platforms expands, so too does our need to protect the information that we store in those platforms.
Questions to consider about data management:
· Do you always know where your content and data are?
· Do you know where data is being stored processed?
· Is it secure/encrypted in-flight?
· Who handles it?
· Is it copied, shared, stored, archived?
· Are your chosen third-party services available locally?
· Do you have contract terms about data location?
It’s time we revisit our cloud practices, making sure we know where our content and data are going and where everything is being processed.
If you aren’t thinking about these issues and how they impact your business and your client’s data, you aren’t alone.
But you can take steps to improve the issues.
Platform ecosystems are ever evolving and if this area seems outside your realm of expertise, perhaps you should look to another consultant who can help you get a better handle being able to answer these questions for your own business, and help clients develop sustainable data-management policies.
You aren’t alone in this complex world, but don’t wait until your data — or your client’s data — is compromised before you get a handle on it.