Potential Impacts of the New Sustainability Champions

Source: BCG Perspectives Sustainability is a hot topic in the West, but companies in rapidly developing economies (RDEs) are far more likely to face resource constraints. How can they meet the challenge? The Boston Consulting Group, in partnership with the World Economic Forum, is conducting an ongoing study of sustainability practices in a variety of industries. We pinpointed 16 “sustainability champions” in RDEs that combine a profitable, growing business with the efficient consumption of scarce assets. (See “Introducing the New Sustainability Champions,” below.) If other companies in the same industries were to follow suit, employing existing practices and technology, RDEs would make enormous strides in sustainability—and the entire planet would benefit. Innovations on the Ground RDEs are often portrayed as the inevitable laggards in the drive toward sustainability. Just as affluent nations polluted far more as they industrialized than they do now, these fast-growing countries may be focused more on raising their populations out of poverty than on the impact they are having on the planet. Environmental improvements, says the …

The 2012 Sustainability Leaders

Source: SustainAbility It is probably no surprise that perceptions of sustainability leadership have declined or stalled for nearly all institutional actors – including corporations, governments, NGOs and social entrepreneurs – in the last 12 months. Social protests around the world indicate disillusionment with rising inequality, unemployment and continued unsustainable short-term thinking and reflect the growing distrust in leaders of all stripes. The 2012 Sustainability Leaders: A GlobeScan / SustainAbility Survey polled a total of 825 experts in January and February 2012 to better understand which companies and sectors of society, if any, are making any progress in advancing the sustainability agenda. Continue Reading…

ConAgra Foods’ green strategy: Award employees for sustainability efforts

Source: GreenBiz.com Last year, ConAgra Foods — the U.S. packaged-foods company behind such well-known brands as Hunt’s Ketchup and Reddi-Wip — saved millions of dollars while dramatically cutting its energy consumption. It accomplished this by not relying on major process changes or heavy investments hailing from top executives. Instead, it turned to its employees. The accomplishments stemmed from an awards program, launched in 1992, developed to encourage employees to proactively look for ways to eliminate waste and reduce water and energy consumption. By allowing different divisions to set their own sustainability goals and awarding employees that met those goals, the Nebraska food giant saved 300 million gallons of water, eliminated 61,000 tons of landfill waste and reduced its carbon emissions by more than 43,000 metric tons. These efforts also saved the company $28 million. Gail Tavill, ConAgra’s vice president of sustainable development, spoke with GreenBiz about how the program works, lessons learned and challenges the program has faced. GreenBiz: How did you reduce water usage by 300 million gallons of water? Tavill: …

Visualizing sustainability’s rewards via MIT’s new interactive tool

Source: GreenBiz.com MIT Sloan Management Review released the results of its latest global survey on sustainability and innovation earlier this month, revealing that a significant number of companies see the value of sustainable business practices — and are reaping the financial rewards. For the first time, the results were released in aninteractive data visualization format. The new tool allows readers to filter the data by industry, company size, company performance and other factors. Presenting the data this way yielded several interesting findings: • The automotive sector gets it: The automotive industry leads the way in making the business case for sustainability. However, when it comes to profitability, automotive is only in the middle of the pack; the consumer products industry is at the top, with 42 percent of consumer products respondents saying that they are profiting from their sustainability activities. • High reputational benefits: Improved brand reputation is the greatest benefit companies enjoy from addressing sustainability issues. This is especially true in the automotive, consumer products and media/entertainment industries. • Customers drive sustainability: Of the “harvesters,” those respondents …

Innovating business models for sustainability

Source: Carbon Trust Regulation, cost, reputation, revenue and risk management are driving many organisations to cut their carbon emissions, and become more sustainable. More businesses are looking at how they can put environmental sustainability at the heart of their existing business models. A fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company, for example, may improve manufacturing processes, minimise (or share) logistics, outsource the provision of physical assets used in manufacturing, reduce packaging, or educate consumers in minimising the in-use phase (e.g. use of water) and encourage consumers to recycle. To maintain competitive advantage and mitigate reduced demand from a saturated or simply more tentative market, incremental improvements may not be sufficient, and step changes may be necessary. As increasing resource scarcity becomes a significant issue, and more businesses start to understand the cost savings that can be realised through minimising resource use, businesses are turning to disruptive innovation for sustainability. Continue Reading…

India to pump in Rs 2 lakh cr in 12th Plan to save climate

Source: Economic Times The fight against climate change will take a strategic jump in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-2017) with the government intending to plough in almost Rs 2 lakh crore through the various missions, the working group on climate of the 12th Five-Year Plan has said. The report seeks setting up of a dedicated structure of governance to oversee the different programmes under the 12th Plan with such large funds to be invested. The agriculture mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change alone is to spend upwards of Rs 1 lakh crore over five years to make the primary sector more resilient to inevitable changes in climate change. The report pointed out that the government already spends 2.8% of its GDP on programmes that bring adaptation benefits to people. But the expert group, headed by K Kasturirangan, which wrote the report, has warned that government should not make any further commitments on reducing greenhouse gas emissions without holding the widest possible consultations with ministries concerned and other stakeholders. It …

F1 team Sauber shifts into “carbon neutral” status

Source: Business Green In a move that will interpreted as an example of either effective green management or shameless greenwash, Formula 1 racing team Sauber has today announced that it has obtained “carbon neutral” status. The Swiss team said that it has signed a deal with UK offset company Carbon Neutral Investments (CNI), which supports a range of emission reduction projects around the world, including wind farms in India, waste heat recovery projects in China, and hydro-electric stations in Brazil. Sauber will purchase credits from these initiatives to cover not only emissions from all its facilities, but also emissions from transportation of freight to race venues and staff travel. It added that it would then also purchase an excess of 30 per cent more carbon offset credits to ensure any emissions that may remain unaccounted for are covered. The move builds on the team’s achievement in gaining ISO 14001 certification for the company’s environmental management system in April. “The certification of our environmental management system less than a month ago …

The Companies Combating Climate Change In The Most Innovative Ways

Source: Fast CoExist Coming to a Bloomberg terminal near you: a ranking of the most innovative U.S. companies on climate change. And some of the contenders may surprise you. Produced by Maplecroft, a U.K.-based research house, the ranking tracks how 360 companies worth more than $1 billion are “mitigating climate change related risks,” managing carbon emissions, and innovating “clean-tech solutions and new products”. Maplecroft uses more than 100 criteria to reach its assessment, with the “innovation” piece making up 50% of the scores.   “We see the index as a sign of responsible business managing and mitigating their CO2 emissions and the impact that climate-related events are having on them,” says Kevin Franklin, a Maplecroft director. “But equally it’s about proactive businesses that are looking to generate new opportunities for revenues. The idea is the rating evaluates that, and then the index sits on the Bloomberg terminal, and ultimately helps drive further investment in businesses that are part of the climate solution.” Continue Reading…

Recent Surveys show greater acceptance of Sustainability

Source: CCES blog Well, the first quarter of 2012 has come to an end, meaning the release of surveys and other studies of sustainability in 2011. The MIT Sloan Management Review Report was recently released. According to their survey, corporate sustainability programs grew markedly in 2011. About 70% of nearly 3,000 executives surveyed said that sustainability was on the management agenda in 2011 and will probably remain so permanently. Two-thirds of those managers surveyed said that sustainability-related strategies are not just “nice” or even adding on to profit, but are necessary to stay competitive. 24% of those surveyed meet their criteria of “Embracers”, companies that have incorporated sustainability in the management agenda, have a business case for sustainability within their company, and feel that sustainability is necessary to stay competitive. About 31% of those surveyed meet their criteria of “Harvesters”, companies that have begun a sustainability program and realize the business case, but have not made it a far-reaching or permanent part of the culture. Continue Reading…

Green gyms to tap power from the people

Source: Business Green “Exercise is bunk,” Henry Ford famously opined. “If you are healthy you don’t need it. If you are sick you shouldn’t take it.” Well, for those who hate spending hours in the gym, there’s now a compelling environmental reason for working on those love handles –generating electricity. The city of Hull is playing host to the first outdoor gym converting people power into useable power, installed by The Great Outdoor Gym Company (TGO). Electricity generated on the cross trainer and exercise bikes at the new Green Heart gym currently powers LED lighting for the site. But Georgie Delaney, creative director of TGO, told BusinessGreen the company is working with the National Housing Federation to identify a site where a gym could be hooked up to local buildings or feed electricity into the grid. Each piece of equipment can produce between 50W and 400W of electricity, although the figure is likely to be closer to 100W for those users who are not Olympic rowers. Continue Reading…  

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