Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ category

Sustainability Questions for Supply Chain Leadership

August 1st, 2012

Over the past several years, both consumers and shareholders are asking businesses for more accountability and transparency within the supply chain. Because of this, discussions around sustainability — and how to drive efficiency in the supply chain — are at the forefront of business leaders’ minds.

“Today, sustainability has replaced cost, value and speed as the dominant topic of discussion among purchasing and supply professionals,” write Brian Mace and Dave Food, the authors of Oracle’s The Shape of Tomorrow’s Supply Chain.

What are the questions that supply chain leaders need to ask themselves if they want to successfully integrate sustainability into their business and products, as well as ensure these projects become synonymous with risk mitigation and cost reduction?

Michael Koploy, ERP Analyst at the online company Software Advice, recently interviewed four experts in supply chain sustainability to learn the most important conversations that need to be occurring. He pinpointed 5 questions: » Read more: Sustainability Questions for Supply Chain Leadership

Business Takes the Lead

July 9th, 2012

In our quest for all shining bright spots in the sustainability movement, the Sustainametrics team is pretty psyched about two recent events. The first, our favorite conference of the year, Sustainable Brands (SB) held this June in San Diego’s Paradise Point. SB is the annual meeting of the minds of the businesses, NGOs, educators and passionate leaders in the area of sustainability and environmental responsibility. Four days are dedicated to sharing ideas, collaborating on projects and co-creating a future through the power of branding. This year’s theme “The Revolution Will Be Branded” inspired a challenge to global brand leaders to find ways to support each other and create solutions rather than excuses about the environment. The entire conference was centered around innovation and idea sharing, clearly acknowledging that health of business is reliant on the conscious consumer – one who votes with their wallet every day.

Hunter Lovins, venerable pioneer in the sustainability field, kicked off the conference attended by the who’s who of businesses that care including; Patagonia, Unilever, Ford Motor, Patagonia, Chipoltle, Clark, REI, Green Mountain Coffee, and a host of emerging mission led businesses. The common themes centered on embracing full transparency and authenticity, imparting values into supply chains and exploring new capital market structures that look at long term goals rather than short term results. For more information on Sustainable Brands check it out here…
and save the date for next year – June 4-7, 2013.

The second event, which we had to watch from afar was Rio+20 , the 20th anniversary United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as the Earth Summit. From a political perspective, the conference failed to make significant progress with no specific reductions in climate emissions and no concrete Sustainable Development Goals to replace the Millennium Development Goals that expire in 2015. Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International’s executive director, said in a statement, “Rio+20 has turned into an epic failure. It has failed on equity, failed on ecology, and failed on economy.”

However, while this conference was seen as a political disappointment due to lack of progress by government leaders, the private sector stepped up big time with a commitment to take responsibility for building the global green economy. This is obviously a huge undertaking, and as we saw at Sustainable Brands, one that is already underway. Perhaps our political leaders will take a cue from business. Real change will take a massive effort and 100% participation of both government AND business to reach Rio’s goals. This will require more public-private partnership and favorable legislation, regulation and incentives to support those partnerships while balancing social equity and environmental responsibility. To check out more on progress from the Rio conference click here

The Sustainable Model Anticipates and Prepares for “Megaforces”

May 1st, 2012

All great businesses do two things well: capitalize opportunity and limit risk.  As we work to build sustainable businesses, educational institutions, and government entities, we often focus on the tactical best practices that save money, engage stakeholders, enhance efficiencies, and strengthen brand.  Underlying these strategies is the cardinal requirement for profitable and long-lasting success; anticipation.

In a recent white paper, KPMG explored “ten sustainability megaforces” in the natural and human ecosystems that increasingly impact long term opportunities and the cost of doing business.  The study, Expect the unexpected: Building business value in a changing world, reinforces the resource pressures, regulatory evolution, and increasing volatility challenges for the coming decades.  Most strikingly, KPMG’s research concludes that the external environmental costs of 11 key industry sectors increased 50% from $566 to $846 billion in the eight year period from 2002 to 2010.  This represents a doubling of these costs every 14 years.

The ten megaforces described by KPMG are: climate change, energy and fuel, material resource scarcity, water scarcity, population growth, wealth, urbanization, food security, ecosystem decline, and deforestation.  Applying best practices in sustainable theory is a strategy that addresses short term goals for enhancing profitability, engagement, and brand equity.  It also is a best practice philosophy that directly contemplates and anticipates the megaforces identified by KPMG, and allows its adherents to identify opportunities and reduce risk in an increasingly volatile and complex world.


City of Napa Sustainability Plan moves to Public Comment

April 18th, 2012

Sustainametrics is pleased to announce that the City of Napa has posted its draft Sustainability Plan for public comment.  Sustainametrics began working with the City to develop the plan in March 2011. Input was collected through 16 public meetings, community leader interviews, and an online survey. In total, there are 96 initiatives recommended for consideration in the Sustainability Plan that covers both government operations and the community. The public comment period will end on May 15, 2012 at 5pm and be followed by a City Council workshop and assessment of environmental impacts by city planners.

The draft plan can be reviewed at

Columbia College Spotlight

March 20th, 2012

Our client, Columbia College Chicago, was the AASHE’s “Spotlight Campus” for the week of January 9!  We helped Columbia develop a Sustainability Roadmap in the Academic year 2010-2011.  For more on our work on this project, click here.

Why and How Higher Education is Embracing Sustainability

February 22nd, 2012

It’s exciting to see Colleges and Universities in all regions of the United States pursuing sustainability.  They are doing this to become more future-relevant and desirable, in addition to being more operationally efficient. They are funding projects and making progress in several areas, especially in energy/buildings, waste/recycling, academics, purchasing and community engagement.

We have learned that schools that tie together multiple areas of sustainability into a comprehensive, holistic plan or roadmap tend to be more successful — at getting buy-in, funding initiatives, and achieving results.  They also tend to enjoy more of the full benefits of “going green.”

What are these benefits?

-  Stronger recruitment and retention

-  Enhanced reputational value

-  Leveraged academics to solve important societal issues

-  Enhanced curriculum providing students with required knowledge/skills for future jobs

-  Operating cost savings

-  Healthier work environment that attracts/retains faculty and staff

-  Stronger, win-win school-community relationships

It’s easy to see why there is interest in sustainability, even with all the other priorities and challenges higher education is facing.  It can also be daunting, because sustainability is complex and rapidly evolving.  It helps to have organizations like AASHE and Sustainametrics to connect the dots and provide support.   » Read more: Why and How Higher Education is Embracing Sustainability

Sustainability is No Fad

January 16th, 2012

As we start 2012, the question I hear most while talking about Sustainability is whether it is just another fad. The simple answer is “no”. Why? Market forces!

Take carbon foot-printing for instance. Reducing carbon is all about energy per unit of production; nationally the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). And since the industrial revolution, economic power has been inseparable from energy. The world’s most dynamic economy, China, has pledged “to reduce its CO2 output per unit of GDP by up to 45% through 2020 compared with 2005 levels”(1). In 2009, the U.S. was 27th among OECD(2) in its energy efficiency per unit of GDP(3). As a country, the U.S. economy must become more efficient to be competitive. This is just as true for companies, communities, and educational institutions. Energy efficiency and renewable energy also provide an important hedge against energy market volatility. And given the progress of regional greenhouse gas regulation regimes and the Durban Platform along with the increasingly obvious economic and societal costs of petroleum, it’s clear that efficiency and renewable energy are in our future. » Read more: Sustainability is No Fad

Columbia College selects Sustainametrics

October 8th, 2010

Columbia College takes its commitment to sustainability to the next level

The development of a sustainability management plan engages the entire campus community to create, embrace and execute green practices and policies.

September 8, 2010: Columbia College Chicago has embarked on the development of a sustainability management plan that engages the entire campus community to create, embrace and execute green practices and policies. The intention of the plan will be to save money, lower environmental impact, attract students and faculty with sustainability consciousness, and increase the reputation for environmental and social responsibility of the college.

The college has hired the sustainability consulting team of Sustainametrics and TerraLocke to help engage the stakeholder community as the first phase in the development of the plan. The consultants will work closely with Columbia’s Sustainability Task Force, a working group which was established in May of 2009.  Comprised of students, faculty and staff which represent the various departments of the college, this group was created to help guide the development of the sustainability plan to act as ambassadors to their respective departments, and to pilot sustainable initiatives. » Read more: Columbia College selects Sustainametrics

Sustainametrics, a next generation sustainability consultancy, launches

February 8th, 2010

Sustainametrics, a next generation sustainability consultancy, launches.

(download announcement in Adobe PDF)

Focus on profitable green strategies for small to mid range businesses and local government groups to improve efficiencies and profits.

San Rafael, CA, February 10, 2010: Sustainametrics announces the launch of a suite of advisory services and tools to help small to medium sized businesses and government entities grow revenues and reduce costs by greening their operations and products and services. The founding team comprises a comprehensive set of sustainability business expertise with over 150 years of collective experience in business and public sector operations, energy, water and material efficiency, environmental engineering, green certifications, renewable energy, green product design and marketing, stakeholder communications and engagement. Offices are located in Northern and Southern California and the Chicago area.

Designed to serve a growing market need for sustainable best practices that have quick payoff.

The SMB (small/medium business) segment in the US, comprised of over 12 million entities, is estimated to be responsible for as much as 30% of the greenhouse gas emissions and generated waste through direct or indirect energy use, transportation, manufacturing, supply chains, and product use and disposal. While many large businesses and cities are adopting green practices and even creating new sustainability director titles, many smaller-mid range organizations have neither the expertise nor the resources to make the full systems transformation required to get the promised economic and environmental benefits they seek. The Sustainametrics team focuses on this underserved segment. It also has the capacity to serve larger clients? needs and act as the internal sustainability team.
» Read more: Sustainametrics, a next generation sustainability consultancy, launches

What Does Walmart’s Sustainability Product Index Mean to You?

February 8th, 2010

What is it? What is driving it? How does it apply to you?

What is it?
Walmart’s Sustainability Index initiative is undoubtedly a shock to many of their 100,000 suppliers. The 15 questions on the Index focus on four areas: Energy and Climate, Material Efficiency, Natural Resources, and People and Community. These questions push beyond the typical boundaries that a supplier uses to manage their resources to remain a top competitor for the price-focused Walmart.

What is driving it?
We believe that Walmart, the worlds largest retailer, sees the path to sustainability as one that is driven by market forces, one that will give them a competitive edge, and one that makes them a ‘better’ company.  » Read more: What Does Walmart’s Sustainability Product Index Mean to You?