Sustainability Business Case #1: More Profit

How would we know a business case for sustainability if we saw one? The strength of any business case depends on agreement on what we mean by “business case”—how we’d know one if we saw one. These headlines have caught my eye in the last few months [and these are just five of many more with similar wording]: Read More

Four New Resources for Sustainability Champions

I love it when a plan comes together.

—Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith, A-Team leader—

March was a great month. I’ve been counting backward from that date for two years. I wanted to co-release four new interrelated business case resources for sustainability champions. It worked. Read More

Further on the Robin Hood Tax

In my December 13 blog, 3 Punchy Videos on How to Span the Wealth Chasm, I used three videos to highlight excellent reform proposals to help address the underlying causes of unjust and risky wealth inequities. In a wonderful example of synchronicity, other commentators made similar points that same week. On December 15, Hazel Henderson reinforced the wisdom of a Robin Hood Tax which was the subject of the Bill Nighy clever video that I referenced in my blog. In her insightful December 15, 2011, CSRwire Talkback article, “Transforming Finance 2.0,” Hazel Henderson makes several points about a “Robin Hood tax,” which she prefers to call a “financial transaction tax (FTT). Read More

3 Punchy Videos on How to Span the Wealth Chasm

The Occupy / We Are the 99% movements have awakened many people to unsustainable economic inequities. There has always been a gap between the haves and the have-nots. It’s the widening of that wealth chasm during a recession and the co-opting of the political process by corporations that has aroused recent global protests. Protestors are accused of being heavy on criticism and light on solutions. However, when they put forward well-thought-out proposals, they are ridiculed for being naïve and out of touch with “reality.” That is, they don’t have any good ideas.  Oh, really? These three videos cleverly capture concrete proposals that would help address the underlying causes of unjust and dangerous wealth inequities. 1. Bill Nighy video backing a Robin Hood tax on banks Read More

Risk to Revenue from Sudden Supply Chain Disruptions

Every company faces a particular set of physical and operational risks from severe weather, or political uprisings, or other snags in its value chain. Sustainability strategies lead to more local supply chains and a focus on local markets. Doing so may mitigate risks associated with far-flung supply chains which events like earthquakes in Japan, floods in Tailand, or uprisings in Greece could severely disrupt. Further, when a company reduces its carbon footprint, it mitigates future severe weather events. Extreme weather events are happening more frequently, can damage the company’s facilities, and may require extensive time and money to rectify. The homes of employees may be severely damaged, or infrastructure providing access to the company site may be destroyed. Supply chain resilience after severe weather events is a growing issue for companies with far-flung global operations and suppliers. Storms at supplier locations or en route can jeopardize supply and force the company to use more expensive alternative sources. Read More

The Risk to Revenue From Less Competitive Prices

There are at least seven threats to a company’s revenue stream if it fails to embrace sustainability strategies. In my last blog, we outlined five risks to revenue from a poor reputation on; 1) energy and carbon management, 2) water management, 3) materials and waste management, and 4) eco-system damages, as well as 5) the risk to revenue from poor reputations of the company’s suppliers. This week, we’ll look at another: the risk to revenue if the company loses its competitive price advantage. Read More

5 Reputational Risks to Revenue without Sustainability Strategies

If a company decides to take a pass on sustainability strategies, it behooves sustainability champions to forewarn them that they may be jeopardizing their reputation with their customers. That reputational risk can quickly translate into lost revenue if customers decide they are more comfortable doing business with competitors. It helps to size the potential revenue at risk by estimating its impact and factoring it by the probability of it occurring within the next three to five years. Assuming the company’s current revenue is $500 million, let’s look at a methodology for sizing five reputational risks to revenue: Read More

7 Risks to Revenue without Sustainability Strategies

“Thanks, but no thanks. Maybe later.”Those words are like the kiss of death to a sustainability champion. Usually the rebuff follows a presentation to a busy executive who is surprisingly unexcited about the financial opportunities the company can capture if it embraces sustainability strategies. Now what? Read More

4 Contributors to Revenue from Services and Leasing

In my last two blogs, we looked at how company sustainability efforts can help generate more revenue because of its enhanced brand image as a responsible corporate citizen, as well as more revenue from new products and new markets. This week, we will look at additional revenue from selling services and leasing products. There are four new revenue streams that companies exploit when they focus on selling services instead of producing goods that deplete natural capital. Read More

3 Sustainable Ways to Rev-Up Revenue

A powerful rationale for sustainable development is enlightened self-interest, fed by the prospect of increased revenue, markets, and profits. Savings are good; revenue growth is exciting. Business strategy is often driven by bolstering revenue more than by cutting costs. Over time, societal expectations change. Companies should anticipate those changes and develop new practices, new products, new services, and new markets in advance. Doing this before competitors do is the key to revenue growth and to profits. Read More