Category: November/December 2013 – Sustainable Investing & Business

New IPCC Report Confirms What Companies Already Know: Climate Change is Changing How Business Gets Done

HSBC, VF Corporation, insurance firms provide insights on key business sectors

 

In the wake of a new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report re-confirming the reality of climate change and clarifying its effects, business and investor leaders talked today about the ways in which global warming is already affecting their bottom lines and their strategies.

Representatives from the apparel, insurance and financial sectors echoed many of the key findings in the IPCC report issued earlier today in Stockholm. They said innovative business solutions and aggressive government policies are critical to managing the economic adjustment to a warmer world and avoiding more damaging impacts in the future.

“The IPCC’s report’s conclusion is unequivocal – climate change is happening and it’s disrupting all aspects of the global economy, including supply chains, commodity markets and the entire insurance industry,” said Ceres president Mindy Lubber, whose sustainability advocacy group organized today’s media briefing. “Business momentum is growing to innovate new strategies and products to manage climate risks and opportunities. But scaling these efforts to levels that will slow warming trends will require stronger carbon-reducing policies globally.”

Business support for policy action on climate change is further exemplified through Ceres’ “Climate Declaration,” ( www.ceres.org/bicep/climate-declaration ) which is now being supported by nearly 700 companies. The Declaration calls climate change “one of America’s greatest economic opportunities of the 21st Century.”

For VF Corporation, a North Carolina-based global apparel company which announced its support for the Climate Declaration today, “the challenges associated with climate change are becoming ever more clear, especially in the light of the new IPCC report,” said Letitia Webster, the company’s director of global corporate sustainability.

VF Corporation, whose brands include Lee, Wrangler and The North Face, is one of the world’s largest single purchasers of cotton. “We source our cotton globally, but much of the world’s cotton comes from areas that are expected to be impacted most by water scarcity and extreme weather – specifically, the Western U.S., China, Pakistan and India,” Webster said.

Outdoor recreation impacts are another challenge. “Whether in mountains or the ocean, our brands and our consumers are feeling the impacts of climate change,” Webster added. “The ski industry, for example, is seeing winters that are two weeks shorter, with two feet less of snow, on average, per year. This means resorts are opening later, which translates to less skier days, which could mean less ski-related business for The North Face.”

Webster said the company has comprehensive plans for managing climate risks, including responsible sourcing strategies for cotton, utilizing more renewable energy at its facilities, and ramping up water and energy efficiency improvements across its business.

Financial firm HSBC echoed the IPCC report’s key conclusions by issuing two separate reports of its own in recent days. The reports focused on which G-20 countries face the biggest climate risks and the global outlook for stronger climate policies in the next three years.

“The IPCC report provides firmer foundations for policy action. For the world’s capital markets, climate change is an issue of strategic risk management – and by continuing to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, we are putting ‘the weather on steroids,’” said Nick Robins, head of the Climate Change Centre at HSBC. “We know that temperatures continue to warm and that impacts are fully in line with what we would expect from a warming world, including rising sea levels and melting glaciers. And this is affecting economies today. Our research shows that India, China, Indonesia, South Africa and Brazil are the G-20 nations that are most vulnerable to climate risks.”

“We expect the succession of IPCC reports into 2014 to provide a renewed impetus to policy and business action through to the finalization of negotiations in December 2015,” Robins added.

Insurance executives from Europe and the United States also supported the IPCC report findings.

“When a body like the IPCC concludes that with 95% certainty mankind is causing climate change we would be foolish not to listen,” said Mark Way, who heads reinsurer Swiss Re’s sustainability work in the Americas. “And yet we are still not listening closely enough. The transition to a low carbon economy and a more climate resilient society cannot be thought of as options, they are necessities. Swiss Re is committed to playing its role in tackling climate change, and we have just reinforced this by announcing we will join an initiative that pledges companies to source 100% of their energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.”

“The insurance and reinsurance sectors are operating in an increasingly uncertain environment impacted by climate change,” added Lara Mowery, head of the global property specialty practice at Guy Carpenter & Co., a leading global risk and reinsurance firm. “In this evolving risk landscape, identifying and understanding the causes and potential future consequences of climate change are essential to implementing workable risk management solutions. The IPCC report provides vital information for this ongoing industry exercise.”

About Ceres

Ceres is an advocate for sustainability leadership. Ceres mobilizes a powerful coalition of investors, companies and public interest groups to accelerate and expand the adoption of sustainable business practices and solutions to build a healthy global economy. Ceres also directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), a network of more than 100 institutional investors with collective assets totaling more than $12 trillion. For more information, visit http://www.ceres.org  or follow on Twitter @CeresNews.

Additional Information Contact:

Peyton Fleming of Ceres
Email:  fleming@ceres.org
phone: 617-247-0700 x 120  or cell: 617-733-6660

Source: CERES

US SIF Foundation Releases Report on Impact of Sustainable and Responsible Investment

Sustainable and responsible investors have been, and continue to be, a force for positive change, according to a Report released in September 2013 by the US SIF Foundation’s Center for Sustainable Investment Education. The Impact of Sustainable and Responsible Investment details how sustainable and responsible investors have influenced the investment industry, investors, companies, communities, and public policy and standard setting organizations.

Specifically, the Report presents examples of how sustainable and responsible investors have:

•  changed the investment industry and added options for investors in public equities, depository institutions, loan funds, and private equity and other alternative investments

•  improved companies through active ownership and engagement

•  helped communities and individuals

•  influenced public policy and developed global standard-setting organization

US SIF Foundation CEO Lisa Woll said, “The ideas and practices advanced through sustainable and responsible investment have captured global attention and are increasingly being integrated into investment decisions.  Some of the most sophisticated investors around the world now understand that sustainable and responsible investment provides important insights and mitigates risks while also benefiting society.

Sustainable and responsible investment professionals have changed the investment industry by challenging and shifting traditional notions of investment practices. They have advanced the inclusion of ESG considerations in investment decisions to generate both positive societal impact and long-term competitive financial returns. In so doing, they have brought to market new investment options and services across a wide range of asset classes that appeal to both individual and institutional investors and help address serious social and environmental challenges.”

The Impact of Sustainable and Responsible Investing

Foreword

The US SIF Foundation is pleased to share this Report that highlights the positive impact that sustainable and responsible investing has had on investors and the investment industry, on companies, on individuals and communities, and on public policy. The US SIF Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization that undertakes educational, research and programmatic activities to advance the mission of US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment.

This Report examines how sustainable and responsible investors have engaged the investment industry, companies, individuals, communities and governments–either individually or collectively–to address environmental, social and governance (ESG) challenges and to reform the way business is conducted. It presents examples of how these investors have made a difference through their approaches not only to public equity investing, but also to such asset classes as private equity, cash, fixed income, real estate and infrastructure.

This Report is designed to:

a) Document some of the many successes of the sustainable and responsible investing field over the past twenty years and by so doing;

b) Better allow sustainable and responsible investment (SRI) practitioners, such as asset managers, investment advisors and asset owners, to communicate how SRI has influenced the investment industry, companies, communities, public policy and global standards.

The US SIF Foundation and the US SIF

The US SIF Foundation is a 501c3 organization that undertakes educational, research and programmatic activities to advance the mission of US SIF.   The Center for Sustainable Investment Education serves the growing need of investment professionals in the United States to gain expertise in the field of sustainable and responsible investment.  The Center provides high quality education, research and thought leadership on sustainable investment to investors, investment advisors, consultants and analysts.

US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment ( www.ussif.org ) is the US membership association for professionals, firms, institutions and organizations engaged in sustainable and responsible investing. US SIF and its members advance investment practices that consider environmental, social and corporate governance criteria to generate long-term competitive financial returns and positive societal impact. US SIF’s members include investment management and advisory firms, mutual fund companies, research firms, financial planners and advisors, broker-dealers, banks, credit unions, community development organizations, non-profit associations, and pension funds, foundations and other asset owners.

Additional Information Contact:

Megan Smith
phone 202-747-7820   / email  msmith@ussif.org

Pioneers of Sustainability: Lessons from the Trailblazers

In addition to Weinreb Group’s work placing sustainability professionals with employers, we continue to publish unique reports on the sustainability profession and its leaders. Today marks the introduction of a new series.

Pioneers of Sustainability Report in September 2013

Today, Weinreb Group is pleased to announce our newest research Report: Pioneers of Sustainability – Lessons from the Trailblazers. The selected thought-leader pioneers include Paul Hawken, Michael Porter, and Peter Senge.  The CEO pioneers include Ray Anderson from Interface, Paul Polman from Unilever, and Lee Scott from Walmart.

We had the honor of personally interviewing all but one of them; Jim Hartzfeld, Ray’s sustainability journeyman took the interview for Ray Anderson in absentia. They all shared personal insights on how they moved the sustainability needle forward in their organizations, lessons we hope you can use to meet your own objectives.

Executive Summary

Sustainability has arrived. Not too long ago – perhaps two decades or so – the fledgling field was considered niche. While still far from becoming universally and uniformly adopted, socially responsible business practices today are much more a part of commerce than ever before.

While no one person, company, or non-governmental organization (NGO) can take credit for the current state of sustainability, there are individuals who played an integral role in building this momentum. Some inspired business while others defied their sector and crossed bridges to form partnerships between industries. Others chose the academic route to make connections between the tangibles and the intangibles, giving the C-suite, the regulators and the implementers the power of data to back up what began for many as a gut feeling, a passion, a realization that things needed to change but lack of data to back that up.

As perhaps the greatest sign of sustainability’s progress, those of us in the field now have a history to look back on and celebrate. And it is because of these Pioneers. It was in this spirit that the Weinreb Group decided to identify what became the six Pioneers of Sustainability featured in this report.

To identify these Pioneers, we asked individuals who hold the title “Chief Sustainability Officer” in their company and were featured in The Weinreb Group’s 2011 report CSO Back Story: How Chief Sustainability Officers

Reached the C-Suite and its 2013 update to name people who inspired them. The criterion was for individuals who made such important contributions to sustainability that the field would not be the same without them. We then conducted a survey of sustainability professionals to select one person from each of two categories, Chief Executive Officers and Thought Leaders, for a final nomination.

These six Pioneers share much in common. In addition to being inspiring voices of support for sustainability, their advocacy has had ripple effects beyond the four walls of the organizations they represent or the covers of the books they have written. To a degree more than most in the field, they are able to translate what the idealists dream of and pencil pushers demand into a common vision and a way forward. They are blazing trails for how business can create value for stakeholders and shareholders toward a much more sustainable planet. And they do so with boldness, visionary thinking, passion, and courage.

This Report is divided into two sections. The first section provides background and a brief biography on the Pioneers. In the second section, we asked each Pioneer to provide their insights on four questions related to sustainability. In the case of the late Ray Anderson, his former colleague Jim Hartzfeld shared his thoughts on what Anderson’s perspective might be.

As a final note, for the purposes of clarity and brevity we treat the terms “corporate social responsibility,” “sustainability,” and “creating shared value” as synonymous, unless otherwise noted. To us, this terminology means achieving positive business results while also having a positive effect on society and the environment.

Sincerely, Ellen Weinreb and James Epstein-Reeves

Report Publisher and Editors:

Ellen Weinreb is the Founder of the Weinreb Group ( www.weinrebgroup.com ), an executive search firm specializing in sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

James Epstein-Reeves is the President of Do Well Do Good, LLC ( www.dowelldogood.net ), a sustainability business strategy and communications consulting company based in Chicago.

Mission in a Bottle: Honest Tea’s Story as Graphic Novel

Honest Tea’s co-founders share how they built their mission-driven business in the innovative new book Mission in a Bottle, which tells their entrepreneurial story in a vivid comic book format.

The new book, “Mission in a Bottle, The Honest Guide to Doing Business Differently, and Succeeding” is on sale at independent and chain bookstores across the country, and available at Amazon.com.

The graphic novel format invites a whole new audience of businesspeople and future entrepreneurs to learn from the visual storytelling skills of co-founders Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff and illustrator Sungyoon Choi.

Seth and Barry, as they prefer to be called, launched Honest Tea together in 1997, when they realized that they were thirsty, but couldn’t find anything to drink that wasn’t too sweet.

Figuring they weren’t alone, they forged ahead in building a new beverage business from the ground up, using freshly brewed tea leaves and little sweetener. Today, Honest Tea is one of the most successful and well-known green businesses in the food and beverage industry.

As Seth describes, the book “captures the challenges of building a mission-driven business in a profit-driven world, while also sharing the personal and family experiences that are part of the journey. This is not your typical business book!  Not only is the story told in comic book form, but we are hoping that the story will 1) inspire readers to start brewing up their own ideas and 2) help people understand the creative role business can play in improving our society.”

Mission in a Bottle doesn’t shy away from the darker side of starting a business, sharing “some of the personal struggles any entrepreneur inevitably faces while trying to balance the demands of raising a company and a family.” The book provides the kind of true tales and advice that the co-founders wished they could have read prior to launching their business.

Learn more about the new book at www.MissioninaBottle.net where you can check out a free chapter.

Source: Green Business Network

Sonen Capital Releases Landmark Report – Evolution of an Impact Portfolio: From Implementation to Results

 

Sonen Capital, a leading Social & Environmental investment firm, in collaboration with the KL Felicitas Foundation (KLF), recently announced the launch of a landmark report detailing the financial performance of the Foundation’s investment portfolio. The October 2013 report, titled Evolution of an Impact Portfolio: From Implementation to Results demonstrates to investors that impact investments can compete with, and at times outperform, traditional asset class strategies while pursuing meaningful and measurable social and environmental results.

•  Examining seven years of performance, the report breaks down results achieved from 2006-2012 of the portfolio assets allocated to impact investments. By end of 2012, 85% of the portfolio was deployed in impact investments across multiple asset classes and demonstrated the ability to achieve index-competitive, risk-adjusted returns.

•  Research on 38 of the underlying investments in KLF’s impact portfolio, which accounted for $37.2 billion of assets under management, suggests the impact sector likely holds significantly larger absorptive capacity.

•  Impact measurement continues to improve, as current methodology allows investors to quantify and compare their impact to varying degrees across asset classes.

“We are extremely excited to share this report with the broader financial services industry in the hopes of discrediting the myth that investing for positive social and environmental outcomes requires a financial sacrifice,” says Sonen Capital Senior Managing Director, Raúl Pomares. He continued, “In the spirit of KLF’s mission, the Foundation’s hope is that others can learn from this experience and use these lessons to inspire them to action in mobilizing their assets to align with their values and address the world’s challenges, without necessarily a trade off in return.”

Evolution of an Impact Portfolio is written for asset owners, advisors, and other intermediaries interested in learning more about approaches to building diversified impact portfolios anchored in rigorous financial analysis.

Download the Report here –
http://www.sonencapital.com/evolution-of-impact.php

About Sonen Capital LLC

Sonen Capital, LLC is a leading investment management firm, dedicated to delivering competitive investment solutions for investors seeking financial returns with meaningful and measurable social and environmental impact. We offer multi-manager, multi-themed investment solutions, portfolio strategies and customized mandates, across all asset classes and impact themes. Sonen serves high-net-worth individuals, families, foundations, and an array of wealth managers and investment advisors. The firm serves its clients from its headquarters in San Francisco and its offices in New York.

For more information call +1(415) 534-4444, or visit www.sonencapital.com

Follow us on Twitter @SonenCapital

Green Transition Scoreboard Shows Dramatic Mid-year Surge

The Green Transition Scoreboard® tally jumped from $4.1 trillion reported in February to $5.2 trillion as of July 2013. The Green Transition Scoreboard tracks private investments, since 2007, in creating cleaner, greener economies globally. Models show that investing at least $1 trillion per year until 2020 will lead from the fossil fueled industrial era to a technologically advanced solar age [1] based on ethical principles [2] of equity, efficiency, biomimicry and earth systems science.

Hazel Henderson, president of Ethical Markets Media and creator of the Green Transition Scoreboard® (GTS), focuses research into substantial capital investments in Renewable Energy, Efficiency, Green Construction, Corporate R&D and Cleantech technologies based on her years of experience as a science advisor in Washington, DC. To date, investments are well on the way to the $10 trillion by 2020 mark.

Investments in Green Transition 2007-2013
Sector US $
Renewable Energy $2,382,615,994,240
Efficiency $1,329,931,563,718
Green Construction $879,514,652,000
Corporate R&D $377,659,379,436
Cleantech $235,250,088,873
TOTAL $5,204,971,678,267

The mid-year Update to the Green Transition Inflection Point: Green Transition Scoreboard® [3]

2013 Report provides a succinct summary of the GTS and delves into the trends growing the Renewable Energy and Green Construction sectors, specifically. The GTS is chronicling how investors and asset managers are updating strategic asset allocation models both as opportunities and as risk mitigation. GTS endorsers [4] include Prof. Dan Kammen, UC Berkeley; Don Tapscott, author Wikinomics; Ashok Khosla, Development Alternatives, India, and many more.

With $2.3 trillion privately invested globally since 2007 in Renewable Energy, the highest sector monitored by the Green Transition Scoreboard® [5] is benefiting from reduced cost and greater efficiencies as well as from changing attitudes toward fossil fuels and diminished returns on investments. Green Construction is increasing as the demolition sub-sector takes down outdated infrastructure. The Efficiency sector is adding material and water efficiencies to the energy efficiencies boosting this sector.

“In light of climate change,” says Henderson, “I agree with Storebrand’s position.” Christine Torklep Meisingset, Head of Sustainable Investments for Storebrand, a major Norwegian pension fund advisor, told Henderson that Storebrand needed to adjust its investment strategy to reduce exposure to unburnable and, thus, increasingly diminished value fossil fuels.

Timothy Jack Nash, Director of Sustainability Research for Ethical Markets Media, is excited to have unearthed many buried investments in green sectors. “A large portion of this mid-year jump is due to better reporting, by market research organizations and companies themselves, of green activities and initiatives,” says Nash.

“Beyond this inflection point, clean technology investment, integral to the green economy, is inevitably growing toward the Solar Age, based on Earth Systems Science, Hazel Henderson has been forecasting,” says Roslinda Sanquiche, executive director of Ethical Markets and co-author and researcher of GTS.

Article Notes:

[1]  http://www.context.org/iclib/ic25/hendrson/
[2]  http://bit.ly/1fyrYfu
[3]  http://bit.ly/19ksysm
[4]  http://bit.ly/1fyrRkh
[5]  http://bit.ly/1fys6eY
For more information go to- http://bit.ly/19kr6WN

Additional Information contacts: 

Rosalinda Sanquiche, Executive Director
Ethical Markets Media (USA and Brazil)
Phone 904.829.3140 / email  office@ethicalmarkets.com

Hazel Henderson, Founder and President
Ethical Markets Media (USA and Brazil)
Phone 904.829.3140 / email  hazel.henderson@ethicalmarkets.com

Timothy Jack Nash, Director of Sustainability Research
Ethical Markets Media
Phone 416-821-9179 / email  tim.nash@ethicalmarkets.com

Integrating Sustainability (Updated) and our plans for 2014

Publishers Note by Cliff Feigenbaum, GreenMoney

Before I begin, here is some big news: GreenMoney’s e-Journal is going monthly in January, featuring a new and improved design. See more details and our list of upcoming writers below.

We chose “Integrating Sustainability” as a theme to reflect the growing desire of people to divest from companies with non-sustainable or even harmful practices and reinvest in sustainable enterprises that make positive impacts on our current and future well-being, both financial and environmental. In truth, GreenMoney knows that a healthy environment is not only good for business, but in the long term, key to our survival.

First among the divestment targets are the fossil fuel companies. Logan Yonavjak recently wrote at Forbes.com “There are still ample reserves to continue building our economy based on fossil fuels…, but if we want to stabilize the climate and avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change, we have to stop investing in extracting, refining and burning them.”

The big extractive industries of oil, coal, and natural gas (that use controversial fracking methods), all come with impossibly expensive externalized costs, from not only climate change, but also from direct environmental damage, not to mention the taxes Americans must pay for a military to keep oil pipelines and shipping lanes open around the globe.

Yes, we all use gasoline, coal-generated electricity and natural gas, but through divestment and reinvestment we can promote a global paradigm transition to clean renewable energy through ever-expanding technological innovations.

We are in the age of clean energy discovery. Why is this vital and important? Logan Yonavjak says “going forward we must leave 80 percent of the current coal, oil and gas reserves in the ground in order to stay below a 2 degrees Celsius temperature increase and avoid the worst effects of climate change (which, at current levels, we are expected to reach by 2052). Read Logan’s article at- http://onforb.es/18NzEbR

Extractive industries make lasting and often destructive environmental impacts. True, all energy has impact, but our demanding western lifestyles leave an environmental footprint that must be paid for by generations to come.

So how do we begin to address that impact and move from a demand economy to a sustainable or even a restorative one? During the coming year we will explore solutions to many environmental challenges, including resource scarcity, clean water, and renewable fuels, while focusing on companies and funds that sustain rather than deplete our planet.

We are seeing a real upswing in the number of such investors, looking to divest from fossil fuels, mining, and natural gas, and reinvest in companies that are addressing issues such as climate change, clean energy, affordable housing, infrastructure, education, healthcare and job creation.

I personally prefer to invest in innovative clean and renewable energy. We need, as I’ve mentioned many times, an innovative clean green energy future. How do we get there? Basically through companies involved in Cleantech, Greentech, Naturetech (biomimicry) or all of the above. Natural ecosystems, enduring and resilient, already demonstrate many proven answers for a sustainable future.

Investors and financial professionals must ask themselves and their clients – what do you want to profit from and what do you not want to profit from? For myself I do not want to profit from guns, tobacco, alcohol, slave labor or environmental pollution, to name a few “screens.” On the other side I do want to fairly and reasonably profit from sustainable agriculture, organic food, and renewable energy.

Time to rethink your investment goals? What impact do you want your money to have?

So I close this note with, well, some optimism. Yes, there are many challenges in today’s world, but there are innovative solutions discovered every day. I am constantly inspired via social media or publications on investing, business, and innovation, etc. Most recently I read about Jay Harman’s new book on biomimicry entitled “The Shark’s Paintbrush.” I recommend it. Also look for new books in 2014 from Paul Hawken and Biomimicry expert Janine Benyus.

Though the recent and seemingly continuous dysfunction in Washington, DC reminded me of something I wrote last year about Government that still rings true for me:

“The immediate need to manage debt here and around the world is more pressing than ever. In truth, debt mismanagement has compromised the economic recovery everywhere. It is time to stop over-spending and begin managing our budgets responsibly. As Europe and America in all their financial arrogance have figured out, (we hope!) deficits at some point become untenable. Borrowing is easy, paying your bills is responsible. And yes, unrestrained money is ruining our political systems. Unlimited and untraceable dollars for candidates and political parties is not how a democracy sustains itself. It seems both parties and their PACs are taking huge sums of money from anyone or any company or any country.”

Finally, some news for our financial professional readers: Selected GreenMoney articles are now available on Bloomberg Terminals as part of their expanding interest in sustainable business and investing.

More on our BIG News: GreenMoney’s e-Journal is going ‘monthly’ in January 2014. We have been pleased and encouraged by the expanding activity of impact investors and by the encouraging stories that need to be shared about sustainable business and investing. We are increasing our frequency to help spread that information. How can you be involved? Be sure to tell your friends and colleagues to sign up for the free e-Journal on the GreenMoney.com homepage and consider sponsoring or cosponsoring an issue. Find those details at- greenmoney.com/advertising-sponsorship/

Here is the lineup of writers for the first part of 2014:

January  – Joe Keefe of Pax World on 2014 Sustainable Investing Outlook
February  – Amy Domini of Domini Social Investments on 2014 SRI Outlook
March  –  Green Biz 2014 Report on The State of Green Business
April  – Mindy Lubber of CERES on Sustainable Responsible Business
May  – Lisa Woll of US SIF on the World of Sustainable Investing
June  – Special Issue on Sustainable Agriculture and Organic Foods
July  – Justin Conway of Calvert Foundation on the Next Generation of Sustainability Leaders

Let us know if there are certain topics you’d like us to cover during the year,

– Cliff Feigenbaum, founder and publisher, cliff@greenmoney.com

Making Sustainability Stick: The Blueprint for Successful Implementation

A new book by Kevin Wilhelm

Why is it that after 20 years of people talking about sustainability in business, there are so few examples, outside of Interface and a few others, of companies that have integrated sustainability into everything they do?  After consulting with clients ranging from Nordstrom to REI to Alaska Airlines to Pacific Northwest National Labs, I’ve come to the realization that it’s partly a combination of people not understanding the true business case for sustainability “the why,” and companies not understanding actually “how” to do it.

While CSR and integrated bottom lines can provide companies a platform to display and integrate their efforts, the truth is that sustainability remains limited on impacting corporate decision-making and for the majority of companies that are working on sustainability; it remains outside of or as an add-on to their company culture.

That’s why I wrote Making Sustainability Stick. To provide a blueprint for the market on how to fully integrate sustainability throughout a company so that numerous businesses can begin to gain the real, full, and long-term benefits that come from those efforts – no matter how far along the path a company finds themselves and no matter the industry or size.

Integrating sustainability requires change – both in our actions and in our thoughts. And nobody likes to change. Therefore, this book pulls from my direct experience working with over 75 different businesses as well as from corporate and industry thought leaders such as Peter Drucker, Jim Collins, Peter Senge, Bob Willard, Daniel Pink and many more, because in order for companies to realize the full benefits of sustainability they need both the technical (“the what”) and the behavior and cultural change elements (“the how”) that are so essential to making any initiative last for the long-term.

Therefore, one of the core aspects of this book is the new and cutting edge Hagen-Wilhelm Sustainability Change matrix. Every business is at a different point in their sustainability journey, and this is designed to help companies determine not only where they are on their journey, but also help them understand the unique sets of skills, challenges, and actions that are required on each phase of the matrix in order to proceed to succeed.

Every business and every employee has a set of skills that can contribute to a company’s sustainability efforts. Therefore, knowing where along the sustainability path those skills are needed is key because the exact skills and attributes that were needed early on may actually end up being hurtful and get in the way as a company’s sustainability efforts mature. To illustrate this, the Hagen-Wilhelm matrix takes a dynamic and systemic look at how companies truly go through this change.

Some lessons from the Hagen-Wilhelm Matrix:

•  Each phase has valuable learning’s necessary for success both in the short-term and long-term.

•  Companies don’t check a box and move from one phase to the next cleanly – both cultural and operational shifts are required.

•  You should expect tensions to arise when you get to that trade-off conversations. Often this is between environment and profitability. This is okay, don’t run from this because if you have a “no-tradeoff’s” philosophy, this will force rule breaking and new thinking, and that’s when innovation occurs.

•  The dominant behaviors of the leader that are needed for success in one phase are derailers in the next.

•  It’s important to engage the naysayers early in the process, as they are the ones who can see the landmines to avoid and can save you time, money and most importantly frustration.

In conclusion, Making Sustainability Stick, is about helping companies implement sustainability successfully by putting in place the fundamentals and then understanding the management and cultural shifts that are needed by the company and its employees to develop the processes, systems, evaluation and compensation systems that will embed sustainability for the long-term, but will lead to value creation and better social, environmental and financial outcomes that all companies are seeking when they get into this work.

Making Sustainability Stick

Making Sustainability Stick is THE sustainability implementation book for corporate professionals and students at all levels of sustainability. The book is designed for companies striving to be sustainability and industry leaders, companies and individuals that have seen their efforts plateau or stall out who want to regain momentum, as well as companies that are just getting started. Each digestible chapter is a stepping stone for companies to transform from where “sustainability is something they do” to full integration into every decision, process and day to day action.

The book shows how to capture employees and stakeholders around sustainability by engaging the head, heart and hands. Each chapter has practical action steps, case studies, real life experiences and pulls from over 40 of interviews with current business and sustainability leaders. In addition, it includes tips, checklists, worksheets and strategies for making sustainability real, overcoming obstacles and identifying opportunities will drive business value and drive successful implementation.

With the first chapter dedicated to the Business Case of Sustainability, the book is then divided into two major sections: Fundamentals and Engagement & Value Creation.

1)  The Business Case – No matter what, you must always tie things back to this issue. This is the reason that many of you are playing the game.

2)  Fundamentals – Chapters 2-6 include the building blocks that are essential for you to be successful. This is the blocking and tackling that will enable you to get to the next phase.

3)  Engagement and Value Creation – In chapters 7-11 this is where the rubber meets the road. This involves behavior change, engagement, and systems you need to institutionalize sustainability so that you can throw deep for the end zone.

Article by Kevin Wilhelm, one of the world’s preeminent business consultants in the field of sustainability and climate change. He is the CEO of Sustainable Business Consulting ( www.sustainablebizconsulting.com ), a Seattle-based consulting firm focused on demonstrating the bottom-line business benefits of sustainability and then leading companies through successful implementation. Kevin brings nearly two decades of experience working with businesses ranging from Fortune 500 multinationals to medium-sized businesses. His clients include Nordstrom, REI, The North Face, Alaska Airlines, Redbox, Expeditors, Drugstore.com, Puget Sound Energy and more than 75 others.

Previously he wrote the acclaimed Return on Sustainability: How Business Can Increase Profitability and Address Climate Change in an Uncertain Economy, and he is a professor at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, where he teaches various courses on sustainable business.

Do You Practice Conscious Money?

By Patricia Aburdene

Today, there are signs that a critical mass of humanity is expanding in consciousness. Millions the world over practice yoga and meditation or voice their commitment to social justice on sites like Avaaz.org. As awareness grows, so does the desire to heal persistent poverty and epidemic violence. The question for financial professionals is this: as more people are finally ready to be conscious about their money, too, will you be properly positioned to help them?

Such a job requires more than assembling a list of acceptable SRI funds. But it also signals unprecedented opportunity to create deeper, more successful client relationships and to differentiate genuine responsible investing from the lesser offerings of mainstream finance. In Conscious Money: Living, Creating, and Investing with Your Values for a Sustainable New Prosperity (2012), I offer a practical blueprint—of questions, checklists, and exercises—that prepares people and advisors to fully integrate human values and consciousness into rewarding financial choices.

But Conscious Money comes with a caveat: it requires individuals to be highly conscious about money. Old habits die hard: most of us have at times given away our power by allowing (even encouraging) financial professionals to make too many decisions for us. I advise people to make good use of financial advice, then take full responsibility for each money move. Of course, the best financial counselors heartily endorse this approach. Nevertheless, it requires clients to engage in a good deal of self-assessment, an undertaking some wish to avoid: money brings up uncomfortable feelings. And few of us are willing to admit we do not understand an investment.

Ultimately, however, the psychic and monetary rewards of supporting clients to make powerful, informed money choices in a conscious, collaborative manner are well worth the time and effort.

What Is Conscious Money?

Conscious Money embodies a simple, but powerful idea: life is more fulfilling when we enjoy a life-affirming relationship with money. We create that relationship when consciousness and values guide our money choices, while we also respect sound financial principles. The result is greater fulfillment and financial resources for ourselves, for others, and for the planet at large. Figuratively speaking, money becomes “conscious” when we infuse our cash, savings, income, expenditures, investments, and contributions with our values, awareness, and positive intentions.

SRI and LOHAS Embody Conscious Money 

Granted, you won’t find this brand of money consciousness on Wall Street or in traditional finance. But the success of the $3.74 trillion SRI sector (up 22 percent since 2010) and the $290 billion LOHAS market demonstrate that every year, more and more people embrace values-driven financial choices. SRI and LOHAS exemplify Conscious Money and continue to thrive despite a weak economic recovery. No wonder traditional financial and consumer brands avidly pursue the LOHAS and SRI markets. But if business and financial giants seek to exploit these pioneering sectors, most mundane money thinkers (surprisingly) do not.

Why Conventional Money Thinking Is Wrong about Values

Even the most thoughtful “money gurus” continue to assert that human values should play no role whatsoever in finance. That view is clearly mistaken, since values already play a huge role: they powerfully shape our choices (even if we’re unaware of it) and subsequently, our behavior. Over time, our choices and actions write the story of our lives—and our money lives.

But I believe there’s an even stronger argument to make: human values, in conjunction with sound monetary standards, position us to make better financial choices and to tackle daunting issues like paying off credit card debt, saving for retirement, or becoming a wise investor. How? Values engage the heart in the same way that healthy financial practices honor the head. Without the heart, motivation can waver. When heart and head are in sync, however, we feel centered: our emotions are steady, our minds are settled, and our direction is clear—all of which enhance our capacity to make good financial decisions—and stick to them for the long run. This common sense, head-plus-heart approach is the key to resolving numerous money challenges.

Conscious Money: A Three-Part Strategy

Conscious Money entails three basic steps. I describe each below, first indicating how they work for individuals then suggesting how professionals can apply these principles with clients.

Part One: Conscious Money starts with you. People need to know themselves, their deeply-held values, hidden money beliefs, and greatest desires before they can hope to chart a happy, successful money life. This initial step is one that financial advisors tend to downplay. True, advisors do an excellent job clarifying people’s money goals and determining investor risk tolerance. But if financial pros also encourage people to identify their values or passions (which may include love, freedom, justice, animal welfare, or innovation as well as sustainability), they will: 1) Learn more about their client, 2) Better match the client’s inner landscape of feeling, spirit, and psychology with specific investment choices, and 3) Build greater client trust.

A Conscious Money life also invites people to look at recurring thoughts and patterns around money. This is an area financial advisors typically avoid—and with good reason. They are not psychologists. Nor are they trained to support people to examine their belief systems, an inquiry that can’t be resolved in a 30-minute meeting. But with the right self-observation tools, people can achieve results in a relatively short time. In the first three chapters of Conscious Money, readers discover their values, monitor money beliefs, and experiment with techniques to begin releasing any limiting factors. Later I point them toward resources for further study. Armed with these inner tools, readers are ready to explore the Conscious Marketplace.

Part Two: Learn to recognize firms whose policies are in line with your ideals. I urge readers to do business with companies that share their values. But first they must identify those enterprises. In chapter four, readers explore the “trademarks” of Conscious Capitalism. These companies: 1) Enjoy excellent relationships with customers, employees, suppliers, investors, communities, and planet Earth; 2) Embrace a higher purpose, such as global sustainability, above earning profit; and 3) Embody human values, like trust or transparency, in business policies.

I also describe the growing body of research demonstrating that Conscious Capitalists financially outperform their peers and competitors.

Financial counselors might similarly suggest that clients (especially beginning investors) review Fortune’s annual list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” for investment ideas. Advisors will of course steer clients clear of investments they deem unwise (and explain the thinking behind that advice). But investments that satisfy both client and advisor are more likely to succeed long term. Without a strong sense of “buy-in,” clients may want to divest prematurely, distance themselves from the advisor, or seek a new professional.

Part Three: Translate this knowledge into action as you spend, earn or invest your Conscious Money. The remaining chapters, described below, focus on core economic roles:

The Joy of Mindful Spending. Conscious shopping is as vital to a person’s money life as their earnings or investments. While investment advisors might not focus on spending, financial planners must. In a consumerist world, the wisdom of self-mastery may be the best antidote to overspending. Conscious consumers first identify, then shop with, values like well-being, social justice, and sustainability in sectors like Fair Trade, organic personal care, and nontoxic cleaning.

The Wealth of Creativity. An individual’s capacity to earn Conscious Money at a job they love is vital to a positive money life. While financial professionals aren’t job coaches, they clearly appreciate the power of economic trends. Today, as the Information Age winds down, humanity is creating new jobs and new wealth (through investment, employment, and entrepreneurship), not with information, but with the genius of human consciousness. That’s what drives advances in the arts, science, technology, and social invention. I call this era the “New Economy of Consciousness.” And it explains why an IBM study of 1500 global CEOs concluded that “creativity” (rather than marketing, finance, or operational expertise) tops the list of most desirable executive traits. Why? As IBM determined, creativity is the only way to master the challenge of global complexity.

The Rewards of Conscious Investing. Investing in outstanding companies is still the best way to grow Conscious Wealth. Having discovered one’s values and learned to recognize firms that practice them, conscious investors seek trustworthy advisors to help them find the “sweet spot” of conscious investing: companies with great values and superior financial performance.

Conclusion

Conscious Money and Conscious Capitalism are two of today’s greatest Megatrends. Conscious Capitalism, which I described in Megatrends 2010: The Rise of Conscious Capitalism (2005), differs from traditional capitalism in several ways. The late Milton Friedman, the Nobel laureate in economics, famously stated: “The social responsibility of business is to increase profit.” You might disagree with Professor Friedman, but you must concede that few have better or more succinctly articulated the “shareholder” model of free enterprise.

Conscious Capitalists earn healthy profits but achieve that goal through the “stakeholder model” of capitalism, which considers the interests of all parties with a stake in the business —customers, employees, investors, suppliers, communities, and the planet at large, without caving in to the demands of any one stakeholder. This holistic strategy positions a firm to better adapt to the constant structural shifts of a global economy.

Conscious Money and Conscious Capitalism create an unparalleled platform for global transformation. With every financial transaction made possible by these Megatrends there’s an opening for synergy and co-creation. Conscious shoppers wield an enormous force for economic good, for example.

Conscious Capitalists, in turn, are more likely to invest in green innovation knowing there’s a growing market for green products. Each time individuals and businesses engage in a conscious financial exchange, the inner world of awareness and values tempers the commercial demands of the marketplace, transforming economic reality. With each life-affirming transaction, we create a new conscious economy that will sustain the future of human evolution.

Article by Patricia Aburdene, one of the world’s leading social forecasters and a world renown speaker. She coauthored the number one New York Times bestseller Megatrends 2000. Patricia lectures and conducts workshops on Conscious Money and Conscious Capitalism. Her website is www.patriciaaburdene.com

My Health in a Vulnerable Food System

I am an eater, as are you. My relationship with food, farming, and living systems is very personal. As Barbara Kingsolver writes, “Recall that whatever lofty things you might accomplish today, you will do them only because you first ate something that grew out of dirt.”

Is it inconceivable to think that we are NOT connected to the soil? Join me in an investigation for optimal personal health.  What has happened to the dirt in which MY food grew and, therefore, what is happening to ME?

Because I am aware of my relationship with my food – the habitats, the water and food sheds and the soil — I breathe in the interconnectedness of all living systems.

I take my pulse.
What do I feel? The rhythm of blood flowing through my veins?
How do I maintain my pulse?
What does it mean to me?

When I consider the pulses of my body–my family, my community, and all people — I know I am physically, chemically, energetically, and spiritually connected to soil health, the health of the food and watersheds, as well as the cultivated and wild habitats, terrestrial and oceanic biomes, and the climate. These systems describe my body and all of the cycles and processes within it.

How do I make responsible choices?

By design, the processes and functions of my body know exactly what to do. In our contemporary worldview, however, I am taught to deny our biology and spirituality and not cultivate my natural ability to be whole systems thinkers. Through whole systems thinking, I can question in an entirely different way.

How do we know what the impacts of our choices might be? I can empathize, analyze, and strategize about the impacts of my choices on the experiences of others to grow new ideas and possibilities. Our amazing brains enable each member of the human family to empathize with others and understand our interdependence with all living beings.

What constitutes good health? 

I check my pulse again. I know healthy food must be good, clean, fair, and affordable. As my food grows it must uptake nutrients and minerals from the soil, and these enhance the fundamental cellular health in my body so that the food I eat nourishes my bodily functions. As a whole system, when I am fully nourished, everything functions optimally.

I can also experience my healthy human body as a Gastrological Cycle in which I experience my human body as part of the living exchanges known as the carbon cycle. The fertile, living soil in which my food is grown provides nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper and more to my body. I ingest and digest this food through my esophagus, stomach, and my intestines and I exhale CO2 back into the carbon cycle.

The Impacts of the Industrialized Food System

Following World War II, using cheap military surpluses, corporations created petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides, the fundamental practices of monocropping that have resulted in the pollution of our air and water and wiped out whole soil systems. Large acres of a single food crops like soy, wheat, and corn are supposedly increasing the efficiency of MY food yield. But billions of critical microbes, fungi, nematodes, and other soil partners end up as inert material, destroyed by agricultural chemicals that contain almost none of the nutrients needed for healthy soil, plants and ME.

The corporate practices of monocropping, confined animal feedlots for mass meat production, extensive fossil fuel use, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) bring up serious concerns. I reflect on my body, your body, our bodies…what goes into my body and what is my body’s response? The detrimental impacts of chemicals and biological manipulation of our food on our physical systems, immune systems, emotional systems, as well as our genetics, also extend to our global systems. The result of unhealthy food production and consumption has precipitated the decline in American health.

As our toxic burden increases, medical bills mount from obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. We feel powerless. Many people believe they can’t afford anything BUT processed food. In 2013, the Economist profiled 22 selected countries’ by their total household spending for one week’s food and drink. The US ranked the lowest–22 out of 22! (Economist.com, 3/12/13). As a nation and culture, do we value the food we eat? Do we value our health?

If I tune out fast food propaganda and businesses receive incentives to produce healthy, local food, I would not be an indentured eater. Wouldn’t we save A LOT OF MONEY from being indentured by health services providers and the resulting tax burdens if we were to curtail corporate industrial food propaganda and offer incentives to eat healthy food that comes from fertile soil?

The Connection Between Fossil Fuels and Health

I’m checking my pulse with regard to fossil fuel use in corporate agricultural practices. Increasingly large agricultural machines compact the soil. Farmers are trapped into continuing to monocrop to pay for the machines and fuel they use and compacted soil can no longer hold water effectively. The fertilizers and pesticides kill the living soil. The soil and fertilizers meant to nourish the crops can no longer absorb water. When the rains arrive, the topsoil then drains into waterways, creating dead zones at the river mouths due to nitrogen and phosphorus in chemical fertilizers.

For instance, in the agricultural Midwest, topsoil and fertilizers wash into the Mississippi River basin to create the Gulf of Mexico’s hypoxic Dead Zone for thousands of square miles. The loss of the topsoil imposes toxic burdens and nutrient scarcity into all of our bodies.

Impacts of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Other fundamentally insidious aberrations in our food and farming systems also exist, including the manipulation of food genes without eaters KNOWING that GMOs are in their food, or knowing how GMOs will impact their health. Mature genetically modified crops assimilate and colonize other non-GMO plants through wind borne pollen—producing food that I, then, eat. Meanwhile, GMO plant licensing stops the age-old practice of reusing and naturally improving seed, so farmers spend more money to purchase seed again each year.
(Bitter Seeds, Nero’s Guests).

In the name of profit, Monsanto ensures that no organic seeds are available to farmers by putting seed savers out of business and withhold information about their products that people need to know to make life-supporting business decisions. In India, Eastern Europe and elsewhere, farmers often have to put their land up as collateral to buy the GMO seed that does not deliver promised yields. They lose their land, or are indebted, leading to drastic increase in farmer suicides.

This is now a David and Goliath fight where the non-GMO grassroots movement is standing up to these large corporations. Jim Gerritsen is one among these Davids. He has created a binding court decision that farmers cannot be sued for “genetic drift.” If Monsanto had sued them in the past, farmers can then sue Monsanto for reparations any time in the future. People are standing up, acting as antibodies against this bullying, infusing vitality back into our food system.

Food and Farming Infrastructure Vulnerabilities

When people eat industrially produced (cheap) subsided food, we all suffer. Farming communities also lose land as well their farm knowledge and culture to large industrial agriculture. If farming communities do not collectively develop infrastructure capacities to aggregate the volume of the products they grow, the farm community cannot develop institutional clientele such as hospitals and schools and will not earn enough money to sustain their businesses and lifestyles. This results in the dissolution of multi-generational farms and fertile farmlands as they become infilled with condominiums and developments — and food deserts ensue.

Also hidden are the opportunities to invest. The ten investment super sectors bury food and agriculture investments under Consumer Discretionary and Consumer Staples sectors—not a likely place to find a juicy, local food and farming investment opportunity or related infrastructure.

Taking Action For A Healthy Pulse

If I start with my personal health, I am not abdicating my own personal power – I am advocating for my OWN well-being. But when I cease to support my own personal health, I give up power over my own body, and give in to processed foods that make me sick. How do I grow a sense of self-confidence and what it means to stand in my own power while developing relationships with other people concerned with the food system?

As a food activist, I step up as a social, economic and democratic player and healer who works persistently and strategically to achieve my own and my community’s health interests. The cure to economic inequality and unconscious political power is realized through our own individual and community choices, actions, responsibility, and persistence. It starts with me. Ways I can reclaim my power include:

See propaganda for what it is–manipulation to buy more. Get away from the TV. Go for a hike. Come home and chop fresh vegetables you got from the Farmers’ Market or grew in a community garden. Have a potluck dinner party — split up the labor and DINE in community! Use my eight kinds of capital— my intelligence, education, experience, assets (including money), as well as my time and my abilities to enroll others, to teach, and to draw on natural capital. As activists in political processes, I can use my full capital to support those representatives aligned with my values. Buy local – locally grown food supports my farmers, my health, and my communities. Find a local farmer’s market or ask your grocer where s/he sources fruit and vegetables. Try to buy as locally as you can. If the farmers sell non-GMO, organic fruit, buy it and preserve it.

Invest in food and farming enterprises — Anyone can join. Slow Money, a growing movement of people investing as if food, farming and fertile soil matters.

Go outside…touch a plant….feel the pulse of life.

I am my pulse.
I am pulse as I am interconnected with all living systems.
I am interdependent with living systems
I am alive!


Theo Ferguson, Founder, Vital Systems, Inc. and food and farming investor and activist, http://vitalsystemsca.com

Please send your comments and questions relating to My Health in a Vulnerable Food System to the Good Food Web.

The second of three articles will be published in Green Money Journal on June 2014.

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