Building Small Business Value
Through Sustainability
Where Sustainability Takes Root
Sara Rampersaud
Introductions
President,
Eco Assist Consulting
Founder,
YourGreenReview.com
The Natural Step Practitioner
Mashable’s
Top 7...
Core Concepts
1 2
3 4
Sustainability Principals
Global Reality
ABCD & Backcasting
Sustainability Goes
Mainstream
In The News…
Declining
resources and ecosystem
services
Increasing
demand for resources and
ecosystem services
The Sustainability
Chall...
What it means for small
business
Declining
resources and ecosystem
services
Increasing
demand for resources and
ecosystem ...
“Sustainability is the single
biggest
business opportunity of the
21st
century and will be the next
source of competitive
...
Small Business, Big Impact
INNOVATION STARTS HERE
 Emerging Markets
 $277 Billion Total Sustainable Market
 $815 Billion by 2015
LOHAS Journal
 Become Company of Choice...
A Look At Your Company
What are the biggest challenges
facing your company?
Designing Sustainable
Brands
How do we design Sustainable
Brands???
Slow geological cycles
(volcano eruptions and
weathering)
Closed system with
respect to matter
1) Nothing
disappears
2) Ev...
Sustainability Principles
What we TAKE from the Earth’s crust
(eg, oil, minerals and other metals)
Reduce & Eventually Eli...
Successful
Brands…
Plan Strategically:
Small Business,
Big Opportunities
Awareness: TNS Training &
Discussion Groups
Baseline: Biggest Impacts =
Travel & Influen...
Small Business,
Big Opportunities
•Sustainable transportation
•Sustainability education is
key
• Energy reduction & offset...
Sustainability
Drivers
 Cost Savings
 Differentiation
 Visibility
 Innovation
 New Business Opportunities
 Empowered...
Small Business &
Sustainability
 Anticipate & Respond quicker
 Test FRESH ideas
 Scale good ones rapidly
 Investment, ...
A Look At Your Company
What are the most intriguing business
Opportunities related to Sustainability?
(e.g. generating vis...
QuickTime™ and a
Graphics decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
QuickTime™ and a
Graphics decompressor
are needed t...
Bridging The Gap
Think of 3-5 things
1.) You can do to bridge the gap between
Challenges & Opportunities
2.) Assets you ca...
Not a Fad,
An Emerging Megatrend
Next: The Sustainability
Megatrend
• Sustainability Assessments
• Strategic Planning
• Training, Education & Coaching
• Research & Analysis
Complimentary Ini...
end
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Sustainability for Small Business

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Sustainability makes sense for organizations of every size. This presentation covers the basics of sustainability from a business perspective based on the principles defined by The Natural Step.

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  • Welcome to….
    Eco Assist Consulting helps organizations thrive using the principals of sustainability todrive innovation and build long term value.

    Today I’m goin to talk to you about how sustainability can build value for small business through differentiation, innovation, cost savings, new business opportunities and more.

    My goal is to help you develop a principle-based understanding of sustainability, and the opportunities and threats relevant to small businesses. Today you’ll hear about an internationally recognized sustainability assessment & planning framework, practice applying sustainability principles & develop a rough action plan for next steps your business can take.
  • Me to tell you a little about myself…always interested in community/environmentl issues…shift with kids=I thought “there has to be a better way”=YGR…lead to requests to help organizations…since become trained in TNS methodology of SSD, EPA’s EMS and more…EAC…I also come from a family of entrepreneurs and so I recognize the challenges facing SME’s.
    EAC is a sustainability consulting firm that was founded on the premise that everyone has potential to be sust. Leader. We cater to unique needs biz/individuals to equip them with the tools/info/skills that advance sustainable business strategies & lifestyle practices. We use something called TNS, a science based and internationally recognized sustainability assess/planning framework to advance the well-being of local business, people and natural environments.

  • TNS is flexible and scalable meaning it can be used with corporations as large as Nike to some as small as single households. Today we’ll talk about how it can be applied to small and start up businesses.

    When we talk about TNS we’re really talking about a few key components:
    Global Perspective—why should we care?
    Systems thinking—tend to see pieces of the whole and not interconnectedness
    Sustainability Principals—bedrock.
    Backcasting—beginning with the end in mind. Strategic steps to sustainability.
    Board: Because we’re going to be talking about some of the challenges and opportunities for small biz, lets throw up some common challenges small business face>>>record—(increasing costs, building relationships, differentiating, visibility, staying competitive). As we walk through some of the examples I think you’ll see how sustainability can help overcome some of the challenges common to small business and how it really is a natural extension of most small business’ long-term goals. We’ll come back to this later but for right now, I’d like to talk about what sustainability means
  • I imagine that all of you have different defnitions of sustainability –and that’s ok because there is no single definition. Most people describe it as the need to balance people, planet and profit.

    This used to be viewed as a fringe movement-whole sustainability movement. But now, if you’ve been reading the paper or watching tv you’ve seen some of these headlines or similar ones. Sustaianbility used to be viewed as a fringe movement BUT These messages about the decline in natural resources and related social issues-used to be coming from groups like the sierra club and Greenpeace but in the last few years that’s changed as we’ve begun to sense that this is more than a moral imperative-it’s a strategic issue that is shaping the future of business.



  • A good way to visualize the forces driving this shift to mainstream is to imagine a funnel walls represent 2 converging trends. Demand is outstripping supply. Resource scarcity will be a common problem in the near future
    The walls represent the pressure we feel ($, lack of resources etc.) & as we move further in, we feel greater pressure & have less options.
    In 2005, the MA showed that 15 of the world's 24 ecosystem services are being degraded or used unsustainably. In business terms, this meant that nearly two-thirds of the "company's" 24 divisions examined are in the red; only four are profitable, while the other five showed mixed results regionally.
    World Economic Forum: Scarcity of natural resources will leave the consumer industry exposed to higher and more volatile pricing in little more than a decade & Stressed communtiies that expect more from the companies that operate in their areas.
    If we continue developing the way we’re developing, the farther into the funnel we move, the less options we have.
    Our GOAL is to open this funnel up and eventually become restorative…starting with businesses.
    This is our backdrop…this underscores everything else we do.
    Operational prices going up
    Community Expectations that businesses help restore natural environments..at least not dammage them
    Consumers wanting sustainable products, employees wanting more
    Commodity products prices going up
    Complying with increasingly strong regulations



    As this happens, resource scarcity becomes a strategic issue, commodity prices rise and stakeholder expectations change to reflect a growing awarness of these pressures. From a small business perspective, sustainability isn’t about philanthropy or even putting the environment before quality or customer needs-a bankrupt business isn’t sustainable and a really great green product or service isn’t very helpful if no one buys it. We’re talking about intelligent business strategies that drive innovation, create long-term value and preserve the natural and social systems that we all rely on.

    Anheiser Bush—fixed problem///
    Supplierrs nd customers takin note

    At the same time, there is growing expectation that business should create positive value or at the very least, reduce its’ negative impacts on the communities it operates in. These pressures are increasing and encroaching on business’ capacity to create value.


    Thik of S as a wide angle


    It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, the environment underpins your success

    Anheuser Busch??

    Similarly, there are no big business issues that won’t eventually be small business issues too.

    Millenium Ecosystem Assessment…UN global Population/increasing affluence.

    The use of freashwater has trippled during the last 50 years. And water is a finite resource.
    • The use of fossil fuels has increased 5 times the last 50 years.
    • More than 50 percent of the worlds wetlands has disappeared to give place for agricultural land, roads and societies.
    • The growing car park stands for 30 percent of the total use of energy in the world and 85 percent of oil consumption.

    We’ve actually arrived at a point where we will need 5 extra planets to support consumption trends if everyone lived like us.

    Over the past 10 years, these issues have encroached up on businesses capacity to create value for its customers and other stakeholders. The opportunity here is to reduce costs through energy efficiency but also through resource efficiency.
    There are no quick fixes but there are tremendous opportunities! The biggest on is to create more value with less stuff for more people.

    The opportunity here is to create competitive advantage by building more value with less stuff for more people…this is of particular importance because as availability goes down, the risk of input shortages up. Chrysler
  • Operational prices going up
    Community Expectations that businesses help restore natural environments..at least not dammage them
    Consumers wanting sustainable products, employees wanting more
    Commodity products prices going up
    Complying with increasingly strong regulations

  • From a small business perspective, sustaianability isn’t about philanthropy and it’s not about putting the environment before quality or customer needs. Sustainability is about intelligent business strategies that create resilient businesses and preserve the natural and social systems we all rely on.
    Tomorrow’s leading brands won’t just be selling more product, they’ll be providing healthier solutions that create more value with less stuff for more people.
    In order to do this, we have to stop viewing our businesses and yes, even our homes, in isolation of our community or environment.
    We need to shift our thinking.

    Especially important for SME’s is how S. practices translate into reputation, trust and legitimacy in the local community. These perceptions influence our long-term performance and viability.

    And therein lies the greatest opportunity of the 21st century.




    And so the question isn’t whether sustainability is something we need to be thinking about-it’s how you leverage today’s realities to position yourself well tomorrow’s market before the competition does.

  • Where small business usually gets hung up is thinking that these global issues don’t impact them and that they don’t have much of an impact. Small businesses don’t have smoke stacks coming out of their home offices or hazardous material leaching from their buildings. But everyone uses resources, travels, makes purchasing decisions and occupies a facility. Each of these represents an opportunity to lower costs, differentiate and innovate.
  • Short List available to small biz:
    Consumers shifting purchasing criteria towards sustinability.
    Asking about impacts their purchases have on communities/families, how it was made and whom they’re buying it from.
    Not only ones taking note!! Coke, Clorox and Colgate Pamlolive have bought out/invested sustainable businesses to help them enter the Green market (think Burts Bees, Honest Tea and Tom’s of Main). And for a small business that wants to break into a major retailer Walmart, P&G, they’re asking about your sustainability score! P&G won’t work with you unless you know what yours is.
    According to the LOHAS Journal, roughly 63 million Americans shifting purchasin criteria based on “sustainability” considerations – this represents a market of $227 billion—815 by 2015…THEY’RE FOCUSING ON HEALTH
    2/3 have greater trust in companies that are aligned with a social issue, and 2/3 said that they would be likely to switch to a brand aligned with a good cause, all else equal
    IBM released a study ealier this year that found that 65% of under/grad students believe resource scarcity will become an issue for the companies they work for.
    More than 97% of survey respondents were willing to forego financial benefits to work for a company with a better reputation for CSR and ethics (Stanford)
    Gen Y::Survey after survey reaveals they are already sensitized to sustainability issues-these people represent tomorrow’s informed consumers, top tallent AND competitors. If they’re sensitized to the problem, they’re also sensitized to the solution. Generation Y is the reason Boeing started looking into their sustainability practices because they were no longer attracting top talent
  • Operational prices going up
    Commodity products prices going up
    Complying with increasingly strong regulations

    So let’s look at how some small businesses have used sustainability to build their value.
  • When the Natural Step started they had the objective to define what is sustainability by understanding how the natural cycles work.
    But we couldn’t – the system is too complex and we don’t know all of the ways we can be sustainable-THOUGHT some things were safe (ddt).
    So we asked the question, “what are we doing that we should not do?” With enough understanding of natural systems we can understand the basic ways we’re breaking the system down..



    With an understanding of the natural laws of the system, through a scientific, consensus based process, the Natural Step was able to devise system conditions for sustainability
    This image represents the Earth’s basic systems, the way nature was designed to work. For billions of years these systems have been running, creating habitable conditions for life. The earth is Open, closed, what is here now wil be here 10- years from now. Signficant b/c earth designed cycles where and “Waste” from one cycle is food for notice how there are no landfills in nature. Slow geological cycles means heavy metals and oil are introduced slowly
    So looking at this image, how might we be breaking the system down?

    SLOW ecological cycles….
    Taking too much from the earth’s crust-faster than it can replace (relatively large flows of materials) (e.g. oil, copper, minerals and other metals)
    Make too much that stays in nature (introducing persistent compounds) (e.g. DDT or plastics)
    Physically encroaching upon nature physically inhibiting the ability of nature to run cycles (e.g. paving wetlands, over harvesting)
    Creating barriers to people meeting their basic needs creating barriers that inhibit the ability of other people to meet their basic needs (e.g. lack of access to education, health, or freedom of expression)
  • Where a compass helps an individual know where true North is and the uses this point to guide their movements, these principals help organizations or communities know where sustainability is and guide their innovation efforts towards this point.

    1.) Taking too much from the earth’s crust-faster than it can replace and deposit it into biosphere where it damages life in biosphere (relatively large flows of materials) (e.g. oil, copper, minerals and other metals INSTEAD Reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.)
    2.) Make too much that stays in nature (introducing persistent compounds) (e.g. DDT or plastics Substitute persistent and unnatural compounds with ones that are normally abundant or break down more easily in nature.)
    3.) Physically encroaching upon nature physically inhibiting the ability of nature to run cycles (e.g. paving wetlands, over harvesting INSTEAD: Draw resources only from well-managed ecosystems, using resources and land efficiently and fairly.)
    4.) Creating barriers to people meeting their basic needs creating barriers that inhibit the ability of other people to meet their basic needs. (e.g. meeting employee needs—creating SAFE working environments, community & global level INSTEAD Fair Trade / Preserve and create opportunities to allow people to meet their needs. )
  • So the question isn’t whether sustainability is something we need to be thinking about—its bout how to capture these opportunities first so that sustinability becomes an issue for your competitor –not for your own company-because you’ve already made sustainability an integral part of your business”
    But HOW?????? We need a framework-a basic planning structure-to turn sustainability from something nice that we want into something concrete we can plan for. Sustainability should be viewed as a means to achieve business goals more sustainably. It is not an additional layer of responsibilities, but a system that can be integrated to strategically guide business goals.

    This is the ABCD framework for sustainability planning.
    Awareness-what does sustainabilty mean?
    Baseline operations to find out what their biggest challenges and opportunities were.
    Compelling vision of success that inspired others and tapped into a shared sense of purpose
    Down to action-they made sure that every intitiave made sound financial sense for their company and embedded a new way of thinking into their day to day operations.
    Key questions:
    Does it move us in the right direction? Is it reducing our violation of the sust. Principals?
    Is it a flexible platform? Can we expand on this as new information becomes available? Key Quations: WHAT NEXT?
    ROI? Financial and non financial. Small businesses—need financial but nonfinancial can be just as, if not more, important as we’ll see here in a minute.
    So, let’s look at a bottle of water and run it through the sustainability principles to see where we might be able to make improvements.
  • This is FMYI…they’re a small software service (10 employees) that provides online collaboration for work teams that the companay calls a ‘sustaianable office’. As a service provider, their internal footprint may seem small compared to consumer products companies but it's integrated sustainability into the way it grows and develops and has achieved more in the past few years than many of their larger competitors:  All of FMYI employees participate in sustainability training , It differentiated itself from its competitors by offering it clients a way to improve their sustainability performance on a day to day basis by using FMYI’s services. 

    workshops and scavenger hunts to reduce waste and energy consumption, employees are encouraged to telecommute and given alt. transport options, it’s reduced energy consumption by changing settings on electronics and purchasing efficient appliances, is striving towards a paperless office, recylces and purchases carbon offsets to reduce impacts from its emissions.
     
  • After looking at their violations they found their biggest impacts were transportation. All of FMYI employees participate in sustainability training , It differentiated itself from its competitors by offering it clients a way to improve their sustainability performance on a day to day basis by using FMYI’s services. 

    workshops and scavenger hunts to reduce waste and energy consumption, employees are encouraged to telecommute and given alt. transport options, it’s reduced energy consumption by changing settings on electronics and purchasing efficient appliances, is striving towards a paperless office, recylces and purchases carbon offsets to reduce impacts from its emissions.
     
  • Pick a few examples…
    BUT this isn't just in the name of ‘doin good’.  FMYI is a bootstrapped business and all of these things lead to cost savings for the company.
    For example:: integrating S. into how they do business has created visibility, speaking opportunities and differentiation. In the past year, Yuen has been invited to participate in a conference panels on sustainability along with Intel Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc.,Sodexho, NBC Universal, Ernst & Young and Global Hyatt Corp.
    They found a sustainability-related need with their customers and released a service that addressed it. They created a new sales channel by expanding their services to include employee sustaianbility engagement platforms.
  • FMYI isn’t an anomaly, as it happens, sme are uniquely positioned to take on sustainability. Typically, small businesses have stroner relationships with their clients and can anticipate and respond to their needs quicker. Their agility allows them to capture new opportunities first, test new ideas and scale good ones rapidly.
    Small business can stay at the cutting edge-It might take 2 years for a project in a big business to research, test and implement
    For small business, these are investments in long-term viability. For big business, it’s now a cost.
    Larger businesses now are spending millions to re-engineer their products and services or introduce new programs piecemeal to meet customer expectations-this is a HUGE cost whereas smaller businesses who’ve been doing this from the beginning can meet those needs first.
    Most importantly, if they adopt sustainability principals now, it just becomes the way they do business and develop instead of having to go back and retool their operations when they’re bigger and the job is more costly.
  • Hot Lips Pizza, is another small business with 2 stores in Portalnd Oregon. Hot Lips Pizza makes good pizza, but so did the pizzaria down the street. After being in business for over 10 years it struggled to differentiate itself and became a money losing operation. But in 2000, the owner was introduced to something called The Natural Step-a sustainability planning framework- and began looking for ways to align the stores with sustainable practices and to distinguish his business from its competitors.
  • There was a point when some believed social media to be a fad..passing trend. They underestimated the power and potential of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. I think one of the big lessons from the Web is that things that seem to start small can actually be utterly transforming
    Sustainability isn’t a fad and it’s not going away not just good for the community it’s good business practice.
    Part of the reason it’s not going away is because it’s smart business strategy. The other reason it’s not going away is because of the funnel. We have to stop thinking of sustinabiity as an add-on or an annoying cost; but rather a way of doing business that helps you achieve your larger business goals. As we saw with both FMYI and Hot Lips, sustainability was a way to save money, differentiate and open up new markets.
    It only took a couple of years for LEED certification to become de facto among architects and now, non-green buildins are becoming obsolete. I think there is sufficient reason to believe the same will be true of business.

    Consider the fact that the fastest growing segment of the utilities industry is renewable energy, in food and agriculture I’ts oranic, travel it’s eco-tourism.
    These trends aren’t being driven by the fringe. The presiden’ts cancer panel is now recommendin we eat organic, ditch the plastic, closely examine the products we buy for common toxins and turn out the lights to reduce air pollution in our communities.

    There is no finish line with sustainability-the most important thing we can do now is to just begin. Begin looking at your internal operations-smaall businesses usually don’t have smoke stacks jutting out of their offices or toxic waste to deal with but every organization occupies a facility, uses transport, makes purchasing decisions and has influence over others-customers/suppliers/community- and finally examine the challenges and opporutnities your business can leverage.
    Let’s go back to the list of challenges. I think that we talked about ways sustainability can help address most of these.

  • If you would like to learn more about how your business can leverage sustainability we offer complimentary consultations. You can also check out YGR for news, reviews and guides on sustaianble business.
  • Sustainability for Small Business

    1. 1. Building Small Business Value Through Sustainability Where Sustainability Takes Root Sara Rampersaud
    2. 2. Introductions President, Eco Assist Consulting Founder, YourGreenReview.com The Natural Step Practitioner Mashable’s Top 75 Environmentalists on Twitter
    3. 3. Core Concepts 1 2 3 4 Sustainability Principals Global Reality ABCD & Backcasting
    4. 4. Sustainability Goes Mainstream In The News…
    5. 5. Declining resources and ecosystem services Increasing demand for resources and ecosystem services The Sustainability Challenge
    6. 6. What it means for small business Declining resources and ecosystem services Increasing demand for resources and ecosystem services Rising Commodity/Operational Costs Changing Consumer/Community Expectations Stronger Regulations
    7. 7. “Sustainability is the single biggest business opportunity of the 21st century and will be the next source of competitive advantage.” Lee Scott, CEO Wal-Mart The Sustainability Solution
    8. 8. Small Business, Big Impact INNOVATION STARTS HERE
    9. 9.  Emerging Markets  $277 Billion Total Sustainable Market  $815 Billion by 2015 LOHAS Journal  Become Company of Choice  2/3 likely to switch to more Sustainable Brand  Cone Roper: All else equal, 2/3 likely to switch  Top Talent:  97% would take less $ to work at Sustainable company  65% believe Resource Scarcity will significantly impact business Stanford/Harvard Studies Emerging Trends
    10. 10. A Look At Your Company What are the biggest challenges facing your company?
    11. 11. Designing Sustainable Brands How do we design Sustainable Brands???
    12. 12. Slow geological cycles (volcano eruptions and weathering) Closed system with respect to matter 1) Nothing disappears 2) Everything disperses Open system with respect to energy Solar energy turns plants into energy for the rest of us Understanding Cycles
    13. 13. Sustainability Principles What we TAKE from the Earth’s crust (eg, oil, minerals and other metals) Reduce & Eventually Eliminate… Substances that that STAY in nature (eg, plastic or PCB’s) Physical DEGRADATION of nature (eg, paving wetlands, over harvesting) BARRIERS to people meeting their needs
    14. 14. Successful Brands… Plan Strategically:
    15. 15. Small Business, Big Opportunities Awareness: TNS Training & Discussion Groups Baseline: Biggest Impacts = Travel & Influence Compelling Vision: “To have zero net impact by 2020” Down to Action…. Example: FMYI
    16. 16. Small Business, Big Opportunities •Sustainable transportation •Sustainability education is key • Energy reduction & offsets • Recycling • Green Purchasing • Community Engagement • Opening up new markets Down to Action
    17. 17. Sustainability Drivers  Cost Savings  Differentiation  Visibility  Innovation  New Business Opportunities  Empowered Teams
    18. 18. Small Business & Sustainability  Anticipate & Respond quicker  Test FRESH ideas  Scale good ones rapidly  Investment, not a cost  Start Small, Think Big!
    19. 19. A Look At Your Company What are the most intriguing business Opportunities related to Sustainability? (e.g. generating visibility, new markets, retaining employees, building relationships)
    20. 20. QuickTime™ and a Graphics decompressor are needed to see this picture. QuickTime™ and a Graphics decompressor are needed to see this picture.
    21. 21. Bridging The Gap Think of 3-5 things 1.) You can do to bridge the gap between Challenges & Opportunities 2.) Assets you can build on (e.g. strong community relationships, recycling facilities close by, culture of innovation, financial resources)
    22. 22. Not a Fad, An Emerging Megatrend Next: The Sustainability Megatrend
    23. 23. • Sustainability Assessments • Strategic Planning • Training, Education & Coaching • Research & Analysis Complimentary Initial Consultation 614.302.0681 (ph) www.EcoAssistConsulting.com Info@EcoAssistConsulting.com Thank You!
    24. 24. end
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