98% of Sustainability Initiatives Fail. What the …?!

Failing grades without compelling business cases

Last month, Bain & Company published a rather shocking report, "Achieving Breakthrough Results in Sustainability." The title is encouraging; its findings are not. Based on a survey of over 300 large companies engaged in sustainability efforts, it found that 98% of sustainability initiatives fail. What the ...?! Read More

3 Weighting Factors for the Business Case for Sustainability

ultbook-weighting-approaches What if the financial business case for company action on a pressing environmental or social issue is not good enough? Even after estimating all the direct and indirect benefits with the help of the new Sustainability Advantage Ultbook, and rechecking all the data and assumptions used in its calculations, the return on investment looks disappointing. Then what? Don't despair. Depending on how the 3 weighting factors for the business case for sustainability are applied, the sustainability initiative may still get the flashing green light from executives. Read More

The 6-Point Publishing Strategy for “The Ultimate Sustainability Advantage Workbook”

The situation is urgent. We need to accelerate corporate action on sustainability issues, especially on climate destabilization. So far, we have been ineffective in marshaling sufficient corporate leadership on impending social and environmental challenges. One reason is that sustainability champions have been ill-equipped to convince hard-nosed business executives that it is in their company's interest to help. We need a more usable, complete, and compelling business case tool. My new book will will fill that need. My last blog,  Coming Soon: “The Ultimate Sustainability Advantage Workbook," provided three reasons why the "ultimate" descriptor is appropriate. Here is my 6-point publishing strategy for The Ultimate Sustainability Advantage Workbook to ensure that it is available to, and usable by, worldwide legions of sustainability champions by November. Read More

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. Read More

3 Strange Signs Our Government Doesn’t Want Corporate Taxes

Sustainability Champions This statement still haunts me: "This government is not that interested in increasing the government's capacity to do anything about anything. They are not interested in raising more revenue." It grabbed me when I first read it a month ago in the latest issue of Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) "Monitor" magazine. The title of the article, "The Big Heist: Canada continues to let billions leave the country tax free," should have been my first clue. The above quote was attributed to Dennis Howlett, executive director of Canadians for Tax Fairness. He was referring to the Canadian Conservative federal government led by Stephen Harper. I remember thinking when I read that quote, "Surely, that can't be true!" After re-reading the article several times and doing some further research, I'm starting to agree with it. There are 3 strange signs that the Canadian government is not interested in more corporate tax revenue that would give it the "capacity to do anything about anything."  Read More

Future-Fit Companies Require Future-Fit Boards

future fit boards and sustainability (This blog by Geoff Kendall and Helle Bank Jorgensen was originally posted to the Sustainable Brands website on March 9, 2015, entitled “What Makes a Board Fit for the Future?” It is reposted here with permission. In the interest of full disclosure, and as the blog references below, Geoff and I are working together on the Future-Fit Business Benchmark. Bob)
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Sustainability – Announcing the Future-Fit Business Benchmark

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Ta-dah! As promised in my last blog, Public Draft 1.0 of the Future-Fit Business Benchmark is now available for use and feedback. This free, open-source resource defines science-based, aspirational, sustainability goals for a company that desires to be fit for the future on a scarcer, more crowded, and hotter planet. We invite your feedback on the goals and your ideas on appropriate key performance indicators (KPIs) by which to assess progress toward each goal. To recap, here is the what, why, who, how, and when of the Future-Fit Business Benchmark. Read More

Future-Fit Business Benchmark… It’s Time

Climate destabilization It's time for a Future-Fit Business Benchmark. The reality of planetary boundaries presents one of the most daunting challenges of the twenty-first century. We are damaging the carrying capacity of the planet faster than it can repair itself. We are exceeding planetary boundaries. We are denying our nested interdependencies. For the first time in human history, the future of a healthy resilient human society is in question. This is not sustainable, neither for society nor for business. Read More

7 Bold Strokes to Avoid Climate Destabilization

united nations climate change summit What would we expect governments to commit to at the 21st United Nations climate summit in Paris in December 2015 if they are serious about avoiding climate destabilization? In this blog post, we'll discuss 7 bold strokes they could and should consider. Let’s suppose they take April’s last-chance-before-it’s-too-late IPCC report seriously. Let’s suppose they act on the Pentagon’s warning that climate change is a bigger threat to national security than terrorism. Read More

5 Fixes for Dangerous Wealth Inequality

U.S. wealth gap My last blog was about fixing risky and unsustainable income inequality. Its twin problem is a dangerous wealth chasm between the haves and have-nots. Wealth inequality is related to, but different from, income inequality. Income is what we earn every year; wealth is how much our estate would be worth if we were to die tonight. It’s our net worth, calculated by subtracting our liabilities and debts from our assets. Income inequity is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) issue; the wealth chasm is closely tied to CSR because the super-wealthy are corporate executives. The ultra-rich are staggeringly wealthy. A recent Oxfam report revealed that the richest 85 people in the world are as wealthy as the poorest half of the world—that is, their $1.8 trillion is equal to the net worth of 3.5 billion people. Further, the wealthiest 1% own $110 trillion, or 65 times as much as the poorest half of the world. Read More