BE Blogs: A Voice for Responsible Business
As part of our sustainability pledge to discuss best practices openly and honestly, we share insights that allow others to effect change in their community. While companies have responsibility to drive change internally, we believe they also can add to their insights and impact by sharing their experience with others.
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I read an HBR post this morning called “How Smart Cities Save Money (and the Planet).” As I read it, I realized that if you you were to replace “Cities” with “Companies,” you can pretty much make the same argument for many fast-growth companies.
In the post, Michael J. Dixon of IBM wrote, “…today a city’s success should be measured by how wisely it uses energy, water, and other resources, how well it maintains a high quality of life for its people, and how smart it is in building prosperity on a sustainable foundation. In short, cities have to become much smarter about how they use existing capacity and resources.”
Now, let me replace “cities” with “companies” and “citizens” with “employees and stakeholders.”
“Today a company’s success should be measured by how wisely it uses energy, water, and other resources, how well it maintains a high quality of life for its employees and stakeholders, and how smart it is in building prosperity on a sustainable foundation. In short, companies have to become much smarter about how they use existing capacity and resources.”
Pretty compelling stuff, right? At its core, any business has the imperative to use all of its resources efficiently to create value. Any business that can effectively understand and act on its own resource use data will be able to grow and be far more successful than one that doesn’t.
Take a look at the whole article over on HBR.org and after you’ve read it, think about how some of the same data-driven “smart growth” is relevant for growing businesses, just like it is for cities.
BusinessEarth has had an exciting week at the SXSWeco Conference here in our home city of Austin, Texas. Thousands of individuals from businesses, NGOs, governments, and more have interacted and discussed some of the biggest problems and opportunities that lie in sustainability.
There is far too much to cover in one post, but over the next few weeks and beyond, we’ll share all sorts of ideas and insights that we’ve come across at the conference. So keep a look out for some really interesting stuff!
These are some of the main standout topics we look forward to sharing with you this month:
- How to drive corporate sustainability intrapreneurship using internal incubators, etc.;
- What it takes to get consumers and employees to make sustainable behavioral changes;
- New tools that will allow companies and individuals to better manage their energy use;
- Social media strategies for sustainable business;
- How sustainable architecture and design can take cues from nature;
- How to use “big data” to drive energy efficiency;
- Why sustainability is still poised to be the most profitable business opportunity of our time;
- And much more.
A few weeks ago, this article came out, and I figured it was worth another share. It’s a nice corporate sustainability primer, and it also shows some really interesting insights, such as:
- “High sustainability” companies outperformed their competitors by 4.8% when looking at long-term stock returns.
- “Leaders at 72% of the sustainable companies are willing to take measured risks in pursuit of sustainability, in contrast to 40% at traditional companies.”
- Companies need both sustainable leadership AND culture to be successful.
Read the full article on the MIT Sloan Management Review.