7 Hopeful “I-Think-I-Can” Signals for Sustainability Champions

Sustainability champions are “Little Engines That Could.” We are hopeful optimists. We see what is possible and refuse to be discouraged by steep challenges impeding our progress. Our mantra is, “I-think-I-can, I-think-I-can.” We are energized by reports like the annual State of Green Business 2018 that say an environmental, social and governance (ESG) mindset is moving from the margins into the mainstream. There are 7 hopeful “I think-I-can” signals for sustainability champions which back up this trend, especially on the existential climate change issue. Read More

3 Consultative Selling Questions Answered by the “Sustainability ROI Workbook”

I  had a catch-up lunch with a former IBM colleague recently. As we updated each other on our current activities, I couldn't resist asking him how he would recognize a good business case if he saw one. "Easy," he said. "It answers three questions: How much? How soon? How sure?" 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

Frankly, a Low-Carbon Economy Creates Jobs and Growth

low carbon economy Harper was refreshingly frank recently. As reported in the Globe and Mail, he used a June 9 joint news conference with visiting Australian Prime Minister Abbot to declare, “No matter what they say, no country is going to take actions that are going to deliberately destroy jobs and growth in their country. We are just a little more frank about that. … It’s not that we don’t seek to deal with climate change, but we seek to deal with it in a way that will protect and enhance our ability to create jobs and growth, not destroy jobs and growth. Frankly, every single country in the world feels the same way.” 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