Sustainability ROI Workbook

“Senior leaders and decision-makers in business need to see a rigorous cost-benefit analysis, and a projected payback period with return on investment, before approving any major capital investment – and this includes sustainability initiatives. The “Sustainability ROI Workbook” frames the business case for environmental and social initiatives. It is a useful tool that provides key metrics for use in decision-making and helps to demonstrate how sustainability initiatives help businesses create financial value.”
Gordon Beal, Vice President – Research, Guidance and Support, Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada)

The Sustainability ROI Workbook: Building Compelling Business Cases for Sustainability Initiatives is a “book” cleverly disguised as an Excel workbook. The comprehensive, fill-in-the-blanks Excel workbook is the book.

The Sustainability ROI Workbook is the third book in the Sustainability Advantage series. The previous two books contained explanatory text and figures for their accompanying New Sustainability Advantage Worksheets. In the Sustainability ROI Workbook,  the explanatory text and graphics are integrated into the Excel worksheets and in pop-up, just-in-time comments that provide guidance on how to fill in cells that require user input. It also includes more potential co-benefits and risks of inaction than its predecessors, an annual cash-flow analysis, and built-in ROI calculations. Hence, its title.

Comprehensive business case elements

The Sustainability ROI Workbook includes the superset of business case elements used in over 15 other sustainability business case frameworks. It can be used to justify a whole business  becoming sustainable, or to justify undertaking a single sustainability initiative.

Fillable cells with extensive guidance

The Sustainability ROI Workbook starts with a clean slate of data and assumptions. Users fill in the blank cells with guidance from company managers and from the cells’ pop-up comments. In many cases, the built-in guidance includes a range of possible percentage improvements for a line item, based on other companies’ best-practices experience, gleaned from hundreds of studies, reports, articles, and press releases.

Free, open-source resource – always

To expedite its use by the global legions of sustainability champions, the Sustainability ROI Workbook is a self-published, free, open-source resource. Others are encouraged to use it as a foundation on which to create additional tailored versions for specific sectors or users, for other technology platforms, in other languages, etc.

Download the Workbook

To download the workbook, click the “Download the ROI Workbook” button, below. You can do this an unlimited number of times. The name of the published “final” version is “Sustainability-ROI-Workbook- May 2017.” Because it is a self-published e-book, it will continue to be enhanced based on users’ experience and suggestions. The Latest Workbook & Slides webpage explains how to subscribe to those updated versions and their companion slide decks.

Other helpful downloads

  • Sustainability ROI Workbook flyer:  This 2-page brochure provides an overview of the five business cases in the Sustainability ROI Workbook.
  • Goals for Initiatives flyerThis 2-page brochure connects the dots between 1) the five categories of sustainability initiatives, 2) the do-no-harm Future-Fit Business goals for a truly sustainable, fit-for-the-future business, 3) the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that define the world we want, and 4) the science-based system conditions for a sustainable human society on our finite planet that underpin the Future-Fit Business goals.

Help videos for the Sustainability ROI Workbook

These short videos help users quickly orient themselves to the workbook and use it to build a compelling business case for a sample sustainability initiative. You can click the links below selectively, or watch the whole series in the YouTube playlist.

HelpVideosExample: This companion Excel workbook shows how the Company Profile worksheet, the Climate Stability business case worksheet, and Totals worksheet in the Sustainability ROI Workbook would look after they have been drafted, step by step, as explained in the series of help videos, above, to create the business case for a headquarters green retrofit project.

PracticeCompanyProfile: This provides a complete set of baseline company data for a sample hypothetical company. It can be used as the Company Profile when exploring and drafting business cases for any of the five categories of sustainability initiatives, using the Sustainability ROI Workbook.

Help Video Playlist