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 return on investment (ROI) calculations. Hence, its title.

Comprehensive business case elements

The Sustainability ROI Workbook includes the superset of business case elements used in 20 other sustainability business case frameworks. It can be used to justify a whole business  becoming sustainable, or to justify undertaking a single sustainability initiative. As shown in the figure, the business case elements align with CFO decision-making criteria in the 21st century.

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 2nd Edition is “Sust-ROI-Wk-Sept-2017” — it obsoletes and replaces the 1st Edition, and has significant usability improvements.  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

Help videos for the Sustainability ROI Workbook

These help 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.

Help Videos Example: This companion Excel workbook shows how the Sustainability ROI Workbook would look after it has been used, as explained in the above help videos, to create the business case for a project that does a green retrofit of a headquarters building.

Practice Company Baseline Data: This provides a complete set of baseline company data for a sample hypothetical company. It can be used when exploring and practicing business cases for any sustainability initiatives, using the Sustainability ROI Workbook.

Sustainability ROI Workbook LinkedIn group: This is a group for anyone interested in engaging with others to learn about how to use the workbook.

Help Video Playlist