Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Recap of November TVCNet Meeting: What Sustainability Can Do for Your Business and Your Clients

I've had a few days to reflect on the recent TVCNet meeting where John Bernardo of Sustainable Innovations presented on What Sustainability Can Do for Your Business and Your Clients to a group of attendees at The WaterCooler in downtown Boise.  I'm still excited about all I learned from John and believe sustainability will become more and more prevalent in the way we do business in the years to come.

I was pleased to host John for this meeting.  John has been a loyal supporter of TVCNet as a member since he joined earlier this year.  It's been my objective to have the membership to use the monthly meetings as a platform to spotlight their consulting businesses and services to the business community.  John went above and beyond in his presentation explaining what sustainability is and how it impacts business not only in Idaho, but around the world.  I believe his company, Sustainable Innovations, will be a positive change agent in the business community as we move forward in these uncertain economic times.

Quite simply, sustainability is about making the best use of resources to meet human and business needs while at the same time preserving the environment so needs can be met not only in the present, but in the future as well.  John was very clear at the start of his presentation to say that he doesn't consider himself and environmentalist although applying sustainability to business processes and operations produces a "green" benefit.  Bottom line, it is a smart way to do business.

Other points of discussion during John's presentation:

  • External factors of an environmental nature will impact business more than ever before.  Regulations and international agreements will dictate what can and cannot be done.
  • External factors altering the way we do business should not be looked at as barriers.  They should be looked at as opportunities.  What may be seen as a waste or by-product in a company's operations can actually be a benefit or resource to other areas of the business.
  • Implementing sustainability enhances the bottom line in many ways.  Specifically, the younger generation entering the workforce are concerned about a company's impact globally.  Sustainability is a way to demonstrate a commitment not only to employees, but to shareholders as well, that they are thinking globally.  Retaining employees and reducing turnover as a result of sustainability efforts is a positive impact on the bottom line.
I understand that this topic can be controversial and a subject of heated debate.  Personally, I'm all for clean air, clean water and alternative energy only if it is driven by the marketplace and not mandated by bureaucracies.  To me, sustainability is the way.  It is hard to ignore that we are in the midst of a global economy where changes in one part of the world have a ripple effect on the opposite side of the globe.  As consultants, regardless of our field of expertise, we can implement sustainable solutions in the services we provide.  First, is to find a way to reduce waste.  Look for opportunities in the waste or find ways to use the waste in innovative ways.  Second, is to think about the impact of your decisions and actions and how they may play out 10, 20, maybe 50 years from now. 

Sustainability does have a "green" advantage, but above all it ensures that business will be around for future generations to benefit from.

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