Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A Business Question - "Is there a Return on Sustainability"? Or simply put – “Is there Profitability in Sustainability?”

The business world is caught up in an economic crisis. The responsibility of maintaining a secure “bottom line” is important. The question that arises for business is – “Is there a Return on Sustainability?” Or simply put – “Is there Profitability in Sustainability?”

I attended an evening lecture on this subject in late July 2009 at City University of Seattle. The author/business consultant, Kevin Wilhelm, discussed his recently published book, “Return on Sustainability, How Business (Companies) Can Increase Profitability & address Climate Change in an Uncertain Economy”. The lecture was riveting.

A little about Kevin Wilhelm, he has become an expert in business and climate change. He holds an MBA from the University of Denver, two Graduate Certificates in Sustainable Business and Entrepreneurship from Bainbridge Graduate Institute. His consulting business, Sustainability Business Consulting, has served Fortune 500 multinationals to start-ups. He is Chair of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce Sustainability Committee. Plus he assisted City University of Seattle in putting their MBA in Sustainability program together. His knowledge base is broad and deep.

The lecture mirrored portions of his book. This makes it easy for you to have the opportunity of learning from him. Let me share why I believe his book is worth the investment of time and money. The book is easy to read. It is factual and to the point. Business concepts, terms and principles are included in the book. The wealth of research is excellent. This makes the book a resource as well. The book is broke down into bite size chapters segmented into three sections not counting the Final Thoughts and reference material.

What I liked was how quickly Wilhelm moves into the “Meat” of the profitability issues of Return on Sustainability (ROS) in Section 1 - Addressing Climate Change and Business Benefits. This includes such topics as:

· Current Charts and Climate Change Information
· Carbon Foot Printing
· Buy-in and Business Language on the subject of Sustainability
· Reveals “How” the ROS process includes Financial, Brand, Sustainability and Ease of Implementation.
· Return on Sustainability (ROS) Score Card.
· Using Activity-Based Costing (ABC).
· Carbon Metrics Ratios – Return on Carbon, Debt-to-Carbon, Carbon-to-Equity (C/E), Emissions per Employee, Carbon-to-Price (C/P).

Section 2 covers Policy Issues; Section 3 includes a range of issues from Energy, Finance, Insurance, Supply Chain Management, Marketing to Green Consumers and Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting. Finally his has a Final Thoughts and excellent Appendixes.

Having taught Budgeting, Finance and Strategic Planning I would put this book as a must purchase for every business!

You can purchase the book in the Empress’s Sustainability Store on the upper right hand column.

  1. Click on Empress's Sustainability Store (if it shows you will need to refresh the page until the store appears)
  2. Use the drop down menu in Search and select Books
  3. Type in the search "Kevin Wilhelm Return on Sustainability". You will find the book is available in both Kindle and Paperback.

    If you are interested in a Sustainability Consultion, contact me.

    Enjoy! Judy

    P.S. I discuss Business on this blog as well:

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