Green business

How to Breathe New Life Into Sustainability To Build Your Brand And Business

Read the full story in Forbes.

Sustainability is a bittersweet term in that it embodies one of the most transformative forces in business today and yet at the same time its very familiarity has led to some world-weariness with the topic. Some say that is because so much has been written about sustainability in the last few years that it has suffered the same fate as the word, ‘green’. Others suggest that the persistent tension between marketing and sustainability has led to insufficient alignment between the two, inadequate impact as a result, and disillusionment as a symptom. Finally, some have suggested that as sustainability becomes mired in tools, metrics, and data, this transformational topic has lost some “sex appeal” to keep it top of mind. In truth, if sustainability has lost any urgency as a topic or initiative inside a company the fault lies with ourselves as we have failed to invest our efforts with the fresh energy and ideas that critical, long-term change demands.

Europe’s biggest home improvement chain blueprints sustainability

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Richard Gillies has one of the biggest jobs in sustainable business. As group sustainability director for Europe’s largest home improvement business, Kingfisher, he has hardly had time to catch his breath since joining the company 12 months ago. Twenty-nine years at the UK retailer Marks & Spencer’s saw Gillies rise to eventually lead the company’s world-renowned Plan A strategy under the tutelage of Sir Stuart Rose and, later, Marc Boland.

Today, another program — Net Positive — occupies his mind as Kingfisher bids to take soon-to-depart group chief executive Sir Ian Cheshire’s vision to turn the business into a restorative organization that makes a positive contribution to both people and planet.

I met with Gillies at an interesting time in the company’s evolution. Kingfisher hopes another acquisition will further broaden its reach into Europe and consumer offering with franchise stores (it seeks clearance to buy the French DIY chain Mr Bricolage). And Véronique Laury will become the fifth female leader of Britain’s top 100 companies when she jumps into the position vacated by Cheshire in January.

The business case for rethinking fracking

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

You’ve probably heard that fracking is supported wholeheartedly by the business community, and that only environmentalists see problems with it. But that’s not the case. In fact, a growing number of businesses and business groups are finding that there is a strong business case to be made against fracking.

Of course, there are some economic advantages to fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, as it’s technically known. As a result of this process, which has allowed drillers to reach fossil fuel reserves that were previously viewed as not economically feasible to tap, the U.S. has boosted oil and shale gas output, reduced energy costs and pushed the country closer to energy independence. It’s gotten to the point where President Obama claimed the U.S. is the “Saudi Arabia of natural gas.”

Proponents of fracking also like to note that natural gas, with fewer CO2 emissions than coal or oil, can serve as a “bridge fuel” as the country continues to transition to clean, renewable energy.

All of this would be enough to make one think that fracking is nothing but good news, for the economy and for all industries.

Working together, EHS systems and CSR rocket a company to success

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Making environmental, health and safety compliance sexy may seem impossible, but the Sustainable Performance Forum Americas 2014 conference came close. With former NASA astronaut Capt. John Creighton on stage, a Discovery Bar in the lobby and over 500 attendees with roles spanning the sustainability spectrum, enterprise software company Enablon turned an enterprise event into an industry influencer.

Now in its sixth year, SPF Americas attracts EHS compliance managers and sustainability innovators. Rule enforcers plus silo breakers makes a potentially combustible mixture, but these elements can transform organizations — if they can find a way to work together.

The EHS system is a catalyst for transformation. Sophisticated EHS software platforms can collect and parse Big Data, allowing compliance managers to work efficiently while contributing to their company’s knowledge pool. Analytics captured for risk-management purposes can improve performance and even support CSR programs and sustainability reporting.

9 ways sustainability drives profit

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Today most executives recognize that sustainability must be integrated into their organization’s core strategy — not to say that they necessarily understand why. In fact, too many are still content wearing some kind of sustainability PR badge just because the “About Us” section of their website gives sustainability a one-paragraph mention.

For their sake and ours, here are nine reasons why all of us might want to redefine how we approach sustainability.

Ebay, Kindle and Skype rule among the greenest apps

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Ebay, Skype and Kindle now have more in common than being three of the most widely used smartphone apps. They are also the best apps for promoting sustainable behavior, according to a recent study by the WSP Group, a U.K. environmental consultancy firm.