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Behind the Mission of Sustainability

What is the fundamental purpose of the sustainability program at your company? Executives offer an astonishingly diverse set of responses to this question. Which is just as it should be. We recently completed over thirty interviews with senior sustainability executives and asked about the central rationale for sustainability at their … Read more »

Corporate Sustainability, Competition and Collaboration

Sustainability has become a competitive battleground. Companies like Starbucks and Darden Restaurants are building green credentials to compete for employees. Firms such as Enterprise Holdings are implementing sustainability strategies to differentiate themselves from competitors. Dell is gunning to become the “greenest technology company on the planet.” News Corp. recently crowed … Read more »

Setting Goals for Environmental Performance

This is the season that many companies publish their corporate sustainability reports, and in those reports, updates on their sustainability goals. Some companies have recently announced meeting or exceeding goals they’d set.  Apparel maker H&M, for instance, recently disclosed that it blew through its goal on the use of organic … Read more »

Eleven Questions (and Answers) about Corporate Ecosystem Valuation, Part I

Sports apparel company PUMA announced last month that it had developed its first “environmental profit & loss” statement. The company’s and CEO Jochen Zeitz justified the move saying that companies need to begin to “account for and, ultimately, integrate into business models the true costs of their reliance on ecosystem … Read more »

Eleven Questions (and Answers) about Corporate Ecosystem Valuation, Part II

Ecosystem services are the benefits people gain from the environment and biodiversity such as water, crops, timber, flood protection, waste assimilation, carbon sequestration and recreation. Every person and every business depend on and affect ecosystem services in some way. And today, there is growing interest among corporations in understanding how … Read more »

Benchmarking Environmental Sustainability Goals

Goals signal intent and drive behavior. Some companies announce sustainability goals to signal their commitment to become sustainability leaders and to compete for superior positioning with their rivals. According to a recent Green Research sustainability executive survey, 15 percent of sustainability executives say their goals were significantly influenced by the … Read more »

What 2011 Taught Us about the Green Supply Chain (and What It Means for 2012)

As regular readers of Environmental Leader know, there was a blizzard of corporate sustainability news in 2011. There are lots of lessons to be learned from the prior year, and some important implications for 2012. Some of the biggest lessons surround sustainability in the supply chain. Supply Chain Impacts Can … Read more »

Big Companies Hold the Key to Sustainable Commerce

The world’s largest companies hold the key to setting global commerce on an environmentally sustainable path. The top 500 companies in the world generate $23 trillion in annual revenue, more than a third of global GDP. If the world’s largest companies can achieve radical improvements in their environmental performance—slashing their … Read more »

Energy Equals Strategy at Google

Google’s application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to become an electricity marketer, reported in the Jan. 8 Wall Street Journal, has some interesting parallels and carries important lessons about corporate strategy. The company said its motive is to better manage energy supplies for its own operations, which some estimates … Read more »

Energy Management Standard Fills a Need; Rate of Adoption Is Wild Card

A Powerful New Tool to Manage and Reduce Energy Consumption Commercial and industrial enterprises globally have a powerful new tool to help them to reduce their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and to cut costs. In June 2011, a new international standard for energy management systems, ISO 50001, was … Read more »