Honored to Be a “Best for the World” B Corp

MEDIA ADVISORY, March 19, 2014 B Corp Sustainability Advantage Today, Sustainability Advantage is honoured to be recognized for creating the most positive overall social and environmental impact, with the release of the third annual ‘B Corp Best for the World’ list by the nonprofit B Lab. The ‘B Corp Best for the World’ list honors 92 businesses worldwide that earned an overall score in the top 10% of all Certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment, a rigorous and comprehensive assessment of a company's impact on its workers, community, and the environment. Sustainability Advantage has received this honor every year since the award began. Bob Willard, sole proprietor of Sustainability Advantage, is a strong supporter a B Corps: “The most exiting aspect of the B Corp movement is it verifies that re-purposed companies can thrive. Our purpose is to create economic, environmental, and social value throughout our value chains, not only today but in a Capitalism 2.0 world. Our sustainable business models work today and are fit for the future.” Read More

3 Reasons to Screen Energy Companies from Rankings

sustainability champion Did you notice anything strange about the latest Global 100 rankings and the Climate Counts rankings? The January 2014 Global 100 ranking of the world’s 100 most sustainable large publically traded companies included ten oil and gas companies. The December 2013 Climate Counts rankings of corporations with the most sustainable carbon emissions included five oil and gas companies. What the ...?! There are 3 reasons that inclusion of oil and gas companies in these rankings doesn’t pass the gut check. Read More

3 Reasons I Love the WEF “Global Risks 2014” Report

  sword of damocles copy In my last blog, I declared that it was time for sustainability champions to unleash three risk arguments for more proactive action on climate change. Last week, I discovered a goldmine of support for the company-level and society-level risk arguments in the debate about climate destabilization: a new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF), “Global Risks 2014.” There are three reasons that I am excited about this report. Read More

Unleashing 3 Risk Arguments in the Climate Debate

environment and risk management Any good business case for doing something new or different has two components: opportunity and risk. Governments, companies, communities, and people like you and me need to justify why we change: what’s the upside if we do (opportunity), and what’s the downside if we don’t (risk). When it comes to convincing companies to be more sustainable, we’ve done a good job on the opportunity side. We need to be smarter on the risk side. Below are 3 risk arguments in the climate debate. For twelve years, my focus has been on helping companies to size the benefits (opportunity) of sustainability-oriented strategies. Any company can use the free dashboard and spreadsheets on my website to size its potential bottom-line benefits from aggressive sustainability-related strategies. They will find that if a typical company were to use best-practice sustainability approaches already being used by real companies, it could improve its profit by at least 51 to 81 percent within three to five years. The opportunity side of the business case is robust. Read More

CO2 – Why 450 ppm is Dangerous and 350 ppm is Safe

dangers of elevated CO2 In my October 29, 2013, blog, Stranded Assets or Stranded Humanity. Choose One, I reviewed the math that supports leaving 80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground. That would allow us to limit the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere to 450 ppm (parts per million) and have a 50:50 chance of limiting global warming to 2°C. Now scientists are telling us that this is a very dangerous and irresponsible strategy. In September 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the international body for assessing the science related to climate change, released its fifth assessment report. Authored by 250 climate scientists from 39 countries, it states: “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of observed warming since the mid-20th century.”The IPCC report goes on to describe the cumulative effect of our carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Read More

A 12-Step Program for Our Fossil Fuel Dependency

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PwC released its Low Carbon Economy Index 2013 last week. It confirms that we will reach the tipping point for climate destabilization by 2034 unless we end our fossil fuel addiction. And, in an interview with Alternet last month, Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Network, said: “It feels like the world has gone from ‘there’s no problem’ to saying ‘it’s too late,’ without the bit in the middle: ‘maybe we can actually do something.’” This blog is about the bit the middle. It lays out a 12-step program that will transition us to a clean energy economy if we are serious and smart about how we stage the steps during the transition. These findings reinforce the stark choice that I laid out in my last blog: Stranded Assets or Stranded Humanity – Choose One. But if we choose not to bring fossil fuel reserves to market, what is our plan to wean ourselves off our addiction to oil and gas while protecting our quality of life? Here are the 12 steps. Read More

Stranded Assets or Stranded Humanity – Choose one

Bob Willard - Sustainability Expert In Canada, we are witnessing a false debate: which is safer; shipping diluted bitumen (dilbit) by pipeline or by train? Pipeline proponents point to recent train derailment disasters as evidence that the pipelines are safer. Rail proponents point to recent pipeline spills as evidence that trains are safer. We’re overlooking a third, alternative: don’t ship dilbit at all. Leave the bitumen in the oil sands. Write them off as stranded assets. In fact, the stranded asset alternative is our only sane choice. As shown in this figure, Bill McGibbon and his Do the Math folks help us understand why. Climate scientists and world leaders agree on at least one thing: we cannot allow the average global temperature to increase above 2°C. Even at that temperature, we only have a 50:50 chance of avoiding runaway climate destabilization. Read More

7 Reasons That it’s Time for a Gold-Standard Benchmark

performance benchmark In my last blog, I outlined five benefits of a gold-standard ESG benchmark for sustainable companies. Ten years ago, it would have been too soon to develop this benchmark. Ten years from now, it may be too late. Here are at least 7 reasons that now is the right time to create a gold-standard benchmark for ESG performance. 1. Leading companies are ready The business community has already started to set gold-standard ESG performance benchmark-like goals for their environmental initiatives. Wal-Mart, GM, Ford, Toyota, Unilever, PepsiCo, P&G, Kraft, DuPont, Kimberley Clark, and others have embarked on zero-waste initiatives. California has regulations that require all new commercial buildings to be zero-net-energy (ZNE) by 2030. Interface is using its “Mission Zero” to climb “Mount Sustainability” by 2020. These leading companies know that attaining these stretch goals will make them stronger, more resilient, and more successful. Aggressive “zero” or “100%” goals for KPIs in the gold-standard benchmark will not shock them. They already agree with them. Read More

5 Benefits of a Gold-standard ESG Benchmark

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In my last blog, I positioned a benchmark that would be used by raters and rankers of companies’ sustainability progress, and by companies themselves. Rather than assessing a company’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance against its past performance, its ESG goals, or against other companies, we would assess how much closer it is to being a truly sustainable business, as defined by a fourth gold-standard ESG benchmark. Let’s suppose we could define a small set of science-based key performance indicators (KPIs) for that ESG benchmark. Would that be a good thing or a bad thing? Here are five benefits of having a gold-standard benchmark for a truly sustainable business. 1. It addresses the confusion factor One lament in the business community about sustainability is that it is difficult to understand. It is too complex and has too much confusing terminology. A gold-standard ESG performance benchmark outlines clear, measurable sustainability criteria. It promotes sustainability literacy, since its criteria are expressed in relevant, measurable, science-based terms. The benchmark blows the fog away from the finish line in a race to the top. Read More

The Fourth ESG Benchmark

ESG Benchmarks When organizations assess how well a company is doing on its sustainability efforts, they need something to compare it to: they need a benchmark. Today, raters and rankers of companies’ sustainability progress use three benchmarks to assess company performance on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. These benchmarks are also used by companies themselves in their sustainability reports. 1. ESG performance in a baseline year The company compares its performance today on an environmental or social issue to its performance on that issue in a previous year. Progress is expressed as a percent improvement, or is plotted against several previous years to show a trend line. Read More