Enjoy this article from the SSC blog archives: While carbon emissions management and reporting tend to be the first "big picture" sustainability issues that companies tackle, water is poised to become "the next big thing" in terms of corporate sustainability risk management. As always, we're staying on top of it--culling through the best resources and guides to help our clients effectively tackle the issue. Because we love to share- and don't want to re-create the wheel- here are three articles that bring home the most important tools, concepts, and frameworks related to corporate water management. Enjoy! Every Last Drop: Water and the Sustainable Business. Got another water resource to share? Leave a comment, or talk to us on Twitter (@jenniferwoofter).
This article was written as an expansion of our white paper “Choosing Sustainability Management Software for your Business” published in July 2011. If you’re looking for information on how to make your software selection, check out the full article. If you just want to make sense of this particular topic, keep reading. Whether you like this article or not, we want to hear from YOU so that we can continue to provide the best insight for YOU, our readers… Our series on Sustainability Software continues with “Data Management Concepts for Sustainability”. In this article (Part 3 of 4), we’ll continue introducing and defining key Data Management terms (read Part 2 here). Our end goal with this series is to enable YOU, as the Business Leader, to feel more comfortable in a technical discussion related to the various areas of Data Management, especially as related to the care and feeding of Sustainability Software packages. Being able to “talk the talk” is the best defense in the technology wilderness. Just remember, at the basis of any technical term is a common sense business notion, and staying grounded to this notion will help keep your conversations from drifting astray.
Data MovementData Movement is one of the silent cost areas of Data Management. This entails the replication of data into a system and then out of it on to another system. For example, suppose you have selected the ideal Sustainability Software offered in a SaaS-based contract by a reputable vendor. A qualified consultant is hired to mastermind the installation and the ideal algorithms are determined, tested and approved. All we need now is to move the company transaction data into it and let it do its work to produce the outputs we desire. What can be so hard about that? Strong vendors of Sustainability Software will provide robust utilities to import data into their system and to export data from it. These must receive special attention from your Consultant and from your IT staff who will need to know how they work, at least for diagnostic scenarios. We list some additional considerations below.
Data InSuppose your consultant determines your current operational control systems can supply the data your new Sustainability Software needs and a prototype has proven this to everyone’s satisfaction. It seems like all we need to do is to rerun the prototype code every day and everything will work. Axiom of Design: Everything needs to be designed at least three times: Once to see if we even really want what we had in mind, once more to learn how to build the ongoing system, and once more to really build what we imagined. Then Continuous Improvement kicks in. You are in the process of building what is called a Data Movement Application. Any process that is repeated will fail often in new ways not anticipated. Yes, computers can break and humans make mistakes frequently, but tornadoes and blizzards happen too. We want repeating processes to repeat as planned, and this is why the first design of any software will be replaced. Moreover, you are probably required to prove to an auditor that all your data is being transmitted and received with very few errors that are themselves being analyzed and accounted for. This is motivation for an Automated Balance and Control system that manages your Data Movement and assures its accuracy and timeliness. If you intend all the work to be “outsourced”, be sure to consider these factors in your negotiations. At minimum, be prepared to self-ensure for these events—they will happen.
Data OutThere are two main reasons to move data out of your Sustainability Software.
- To provide a report for approved readers
- To supply calculated data to another system
By: Alexandra Kueller Sustainability is a broad term that can mean something different to each person you ask, and jobs that require sustainability leadership are no different. You might be a sustainability consultant, a CSO, head of a sustainability team, or even someone in marketing who got dumped with the task of sustainability. Each of these people will attack sustainability in a different way, but they all need good sustainability leadership. And no matter what your profession is, leadership will always be necessary. Larry Alton, wrote an article for Entrepreneur titled "5 Habits That Are Destroying Your Ability to Lead," took note and came up with a list of bad habits leaders can acquire over time, and we decided to put our own sustainability spin on their list.