Coming Soon: “The Ultimate Sustainability Advantage Workbook”

The Sustainability Advantage (2002) explained the original version of the Sustainability Advantage Worksheets. Together, they showed the bottom-line benefits of implementing best sustainability practices already used by many companies. The New Sustainability Advantage (2012) and its accompanying new version of the Sustainability Advantage Worksheets, published on the 10th anniversary of the first book, recalibrated the original business case based on more compelling best practices used by companies in the 2002-2012 time frame. In November, I will publish the third “book” in the series, cleverly disguised as an Excel workbook. The working title of this combined e-book and worksheets is The Ultimate Sustainability Advantage Workbook. The Workbook will be”ultimate” in three ways.

First, it will frame the “ultimate business case.” It will include all tangible and intangible justification elements that executives look for when deciding whether to do any project or company-wide undertaking, especially sustainability-related initiatives. It will provide answers to the hard questions about all the benefits and co-benefits that can be reaped from sustainability-related initiatives. Previous Sustainability Advantage Worksheets included most of the business case elements; this Workbook will include all of them. It will encompass the ultimate / complete set of sustainability business case elements.

Second, it will enable an evaluation of what’s in it for a company to perform at the “ultimate sustainability” level. It will provide a framework by which to justify aspiring to the ultimate level of performance in all areas that science says is required of companies, as described in the Future-Fit Business Benchmark, the subject of my previous blog. In fact, as I helped the Future-Fit Foundation develop the benchmark, curiosity about the strength of the business case for being a future-fit company triggered this Workbook. It will provide progressive corporate leaders a way to show their hard-nosed colleagues and stakeholders why it would be a good thing for the company to perform at the level defined by the 21 future-fit environmental and social goals – to justify being an ultimately-sustainable, future-fit company.

Third, it will provide the “ultimate flexibility” for building a business case for a single sustainability initiative, a cluster of initiatives, or all categories of initiatives that collectively would enable the whole company, a company division, or a company location to be truly sustainable. The business case for some sustainability initiatives (e.g. climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives) is slightly different from the business case for others (e.g. protecting and improving the wellbeing of employees). The Workbook will provide business case frameworks for all categories of environmental and social initiatives that company needs to undertake. As a free, open source resource, the Workbook will provide sustainability champions with the ultimate flexibility to tailor the business case to their companies’ situations.

The Workbook is intended for use by internal sustainability champions seeking executive support for more aggressive company action on sustainability issues. It will also be a useful tool for external sustainability consultants who want to do the same and help their client companies reap their ultimate sustainability advantage – that is, capture the complete suite of potential benefits identified in the business case.

We need to accelerate corporate action on critical sustainability issues like climate change.  It would be great if the Workbook went viral and was used by sustainability champions everywhere to spur companies to be more proactive.  It would be helpful to have fresh eyes on its usability, content, format, and packaging to ensure that it will be fully exploited. Shortly, I will invite feedback on its draft. Stay tuned …


Please feel free to add your comments and questions using the “Leave a reply” comment box under the “Share this entry” social media symbols, below. For email subscribers, please click here to visit my site and provide feedback. Backup slides for topics in this blog are in my Master Slide Set.

4 replies
  1. Karl Ostrom
    Karl Ostrom says:

    Congratulations, always taking one more step to advance sustainability! In common cause, I am always ready to collaborate in any way that I can.

    Best wishes in this endeavor,

  2. Bob Willard
    Bob Willard says:

    Thanks, Carl. If you would like to beta test the Workbook with any of your community in Seattle, let me know by direct email. I would value your thoughts on how to make it better.

  3. Raymond Lord
    Raymond Lord says:

    Bonjour Bob, comment vas-tu? Remember me? Back in 2004-05, as part of my eco-conseling 5 month internship, I invited you to IBM in Bromont to present the 1st edition of your book to my senior execs… I’m glad you are still working hard for the sustainability cause: BRAVO and TKS!!!

    Q. Will the ULTIMATE edition be applicable only to businesses OR also to various level of public government, as they need to step up to the plate, wouln’t you agree !?!

  4. Bob Willard
    Bob Willard says:

    Thanks for reconnecting, Raymond. The short answer to your question is that the e-book / Excel workbook will be a free, open-source resource downloadable from my website. It will be provided under a Creative Commons (CC) “Attribution 4.0 International” licence, which is the most liberal CC licence. The license gives anyone permission to use the Workbook as a starter set for their own business case workbook and to sell their modified version. They can create industry specific versions, translate it into other languages, create software-as-as-service versions, write an app version for smartphones, and brand their versions with their logo. So, although the ultimate business case is most relevant for private sector companies, it is intended to be a template for public sector versions by others. I should probably write another blog explaining all this better. Stay tuned … 🙂 Bob

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *