Through easy to understand illustrations, Alexandre Magnin explains why global atmospheric temperature increases are due to increased concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane (aka human made). He based this on the Vostok ice core research, published in 1999, as well as more recent research published by the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that was published in 2013. Check it out!
Summer is over and it is time to get ready for the VERGE 18 conference and expo in Oakland this October. The conference is the platform for accelerating a clean economy and convenes a high-powered audience of more than 2,500 leaders who will explore scalable solutions at the intersection of technology and sustainability within three dynamic and influential markets: clean energy, transportation and mobility and the circular economy.
This year, there are three concurrent VERGE 18 conferences: VERGE Circular, VERGE Energy and VERGE Transport. Each one offers deeper, focused learning opportunities and networking experiences.
Enjoy this post from the SSC Archives.
Investors and C-suite leaders are used to seeing pitch decks. They’re used to getting high-level information that is well presented, organized, and clear, and quickly analyzing it to ask the right questions.
If you bog your ideas or proposals down in data, as we sustainability professionals do love the data, you risk losing the attention of the decision makers and not winning the work or getting the green-light on your big idea.
Instead, consider crafting a pitch deck style presentation to get your idea off the ground. Entrepreneur published a 14-point checklist for investors, and we think it’s easily molded for any project-pitching presentation. Not all 14 are relevant here, but we pulled out the best ones!
1. Cover page.
If you are an outside consultant pitching a project, include personal contact information, logo, and business name to establish your identity. And even if you’re an internal employee, put your name and title on the front page (just in case someone in the board room spaces on your name. Save everyone the embarrassment).
2. Elevator pitch.
Briefly summarize the scope of the project, the goals, and the impact on the company, specifically in terms of this project’s alignment with the company’s strategy (or lack of strategy) in sustainability. Keep this part short.
3. Describe the problem.
Outline why you’re proposing this particular sustainability effort for the company in the first place, using peer benchmarking, risk profiles, and/or stakeholder pressure to demonstrate how this project is a “worthy investment.” For example, if you’re going for a life-cycle assessment for a small manufacturing firm or supplier to a major retailer, talk about supplier scorecards and stakeholder pressure.
4. Propose a solution.
Explain why this sustainability effort is the best next (or first) step toward a marked solution to the problem. Be realistic and don’t over-promise.
Bring up other case studies from companies similar to the one you’re pitching and demonstrate how a project of this type has been successful to others.
12. Critical risks and challenges.
In a traditional pitch deck, you would want to “address every obstacle and stumbling block you can foresee,” but in this case use this area to demonstrate that the scope of work might grow or change based on discoveries along the way.
6. Market opportunity.
If you’re a consultant, be sure to point out what makes you different from the competition, whether it’s your extensive industry knowledge, your data collection gurus, or your long performance record.
11. Press mentions and accolades (and case studies or references).
Keep this short, but provide references or a case study that demonstrates your expertise.
9. Team (and budget).
Outline how many of the company’s employees will need to set aside time to support this project (or just the budget if you’re pitching as a consultant).
A solid presentation that is well organized and clear will get your point across quickly and give you more time to answer specific questions if the need arises.
We like to provide clear proposals to our clients to clarify and demystify the processes, benefits, application, and cost of services like life-cycle assessments and sustainability reporting. Although every company is unique, we have more than 10 years of experience delivering valuable results for a modest investment.
Enjoy this post from the SSC Archives.
Sustainability decisions and reports are data-heavy. And not only that, sustainability data may be unfamiliar to many, including your own CEO.
One of the worst things a sustainability executive or sustainability consultant can do is jargon-speak and data-overload when presenting to corporate leadership.
“Too many executives overestimate the CEO’s understanding of, and desire for, detailed functional data. Many of the best CEOs are generalists who lack deep expertise in most functional areas,” writes Joel Trammell for Entrepreneur.
Remember that the CEO, and in many cases other executives, are relying on you – either as an consultant or as the in-house expert – to analyze the functional data and deliver your expert opinion on that data.
Here are Trammell’s three tips for turning down the data noise and turning up the sustainability signal to get better results:
- Keep the big picture in mind. Deliver “concise insight” into how a sustainability program is tracking on goals and how those goals are supporting the company’s overarching goals. Drop the details, and focus on impact.
- Focus on the future. When talking about a new sustainability program or report, focus on how the results of the report are going to affect the company’s future performance. Asking for an expensive LCA? Don’t dwell on the cost of the actual LCA assessment, instead frame the ask around how the LCA will “identify risk.” And, by identifying risk the LCA will give guidance on mitigating it, and the result will be long-term, low-risk operations in a more sustainable marketplace. Win!
- Ask for support when you need it. “Only the CEO can mitigate conflicts between departments and allocate resources where they are most needed,” said Trammell. This is especially important for sustainability executives, as we are trusted with advising and changing how other departments operate. Not everyone likes change. If you are feeling push back from purchasing on the new sustainable purchasing processes, directly provide guidance on how the CEO can proactively remove barriers in purchasing so he or she can see the positive results you promised from the program (Note: Don’t tattle. Keep it professional with clear action steps from the CEO).
By focusing on the big picture, the future, and framing how your role is working with and for other departments, you can keep your communication with the CEO focused and relevant.
Are you looking to pitch to company executives, but need to translate sustainability performance in a language that the C-suite understands? Let us know!
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.