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- Few businesses know what a bold sustainability strategy REALLY means: Long-term profitability and resiliencyTuesday, 19 June 2012 | Submitted by Pong Leung
Over the past 10 plus years, we have been fortunate to be able to get to know a number of businesses and business leaders who are taking a leadership role in sustainability. They do this not only due to their commitment to a better future, but—perhaps more importantly—they feel that sustainability is a real driver of long-term profitability and resiliency. This requires an honest organizational dialogue about its key sustainability challenges and a vision that goes right at the heart of what sustainability means for its core business strategy.
For example, take the Landmark Group of Builders, a medium-sized home builder located in Edmonton, Alberta. One of the key early initiatives that has really driven their sustainability journey was an honest look at how their core business processes were contributing to the degradation of social and ecological systems, including affecting big issues such as climate change, toxicity, and urban sprawl. Although not an easy conversation, this led to adopting a bold vision for the business that charts a course for long-term success for the business and sustainability for the planet.
- Tuesday, 19 June 2012 | Submitted by Kirstin Piirtoniemi
In 1998, Nike approached The Natural Step to help the company apply the principles of sustainability to its business operations. Over the following decade, Nike made considerable progress on a number of fronts, such as addressing labour compliance issues in their supply chain, reducing emissions, and eliminating toxic materials from their products. However, by 2008 a sentiment was building among the leaders of the company that these efforts were mostly about reducing negative impacts of their business and, as such, were backward rather than forward looking. To better align its efforts with the Nike culture, the company needed an aspirational goal to drive innovation efforts and align the ongoing work into a single forward-looking direction.
With leadership from Nike’s Director of Corporate Responsibility Horizons and the General Manager of Nike Considered, Nike and The Natural Step developed a project that would lead to transformative change in the organization and further position the company as a leader in sustainable product innovation.
- Tuesday, 19 June 2012 | Submitted by Kirstin Piirtoniemi
The David Suzuki Foundation is committed to sustainability, and has implemented several ambitious internal initiatives over the years. These include reducing energy usage and waste, selecting green buildings for two of its offices, partnering with Cisco to adopt communication technologies that reduce air travel, tracking and offsetting its greenhouse gas emissions, choosing green suppliers, and so on. Building on this work, the Foundation now wants to evolve and demonstrate the best of its internal activities through a more strategic organizational approach to sustainability.
The David Suzuki Foundation is developing its internal sustainability plan with guidance from The Natural Step Canada. The plan will use The Natural Step Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development to address all aspects of the organization, from governance, employee well-being, operations, and beyond, and will align with other strategic planning processes underway in the organization. Key deliverables will include a compelling sustainable development vision, strategic goals, and an organizational sustainability roadmap.
- Monday, 04 June 2012 | Submitted by Chad Park
On June 4, environmental groups and other organizations are blacking out their web sites to protest Bill C-38. We won't be blacking our web site out, but we do have something to say.
But what we can speak to—from a standpoint of considerable experience—is the unfortunate tone of this public debate and the government’s divisive approach that has led us to where we are.
We need a different way forward and know that a better way exists. We have experienced it countless times in the hundreds of inspiring projects that we have been a part of with businesses and communities across the country.
The public framing of the issues, especially recently, would seem to suggest that we must either be on the side of the environment or on the side of jobs and the economy. This is nonsense.
- Tuesday, 15 May 2012 | Submitted by Regina Hauser
When our best friends’ first son was born five years ago, I ran to the bookstore and bought a copy of “Where the Wild Things Are,” which remains one of my favorite books. The author, Maurice Sendak, believed that children need to confront the scary and fearsome things in life. And there are a lot of scary and fearsome things facing children these days.
Last year, a group of teenagers filed suit (Alec L. v. Lisa Jackson, et al, C11-02203) in federal court alleging that the federal government was violating its duty to protect the public by not acting to protect the public trust: our land, water and atmosphere. They request injunctive relief requiring the federal government to act to reduce carbon emissions, create a carbon inventory and create a carbon reduction plan.
- Friday, 04 May 2012 | Submitted by Josefin Nyström
Since 2007, the hotel chain has been working towards the goal of being completely carbon dioxide neutral by 2025. Now, four years later, Scandic has managed to halve their emissions and have thereby reached its sub target. What made this possible is the fact that Scandic now’s using solely renewable energy from wind and water for electricity in all the Nordic countries.
- Sunday, 22 April 2012 | Submitted by Neil McCallum
Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, a partner of The Natural Step, was recently featured by Green Globe for their leadership towards sustainability in the hospitality industry.
Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is proud to announce that all its 21 hotels in Europe have achieved Green Globe certification. The achievement puts the Swiss upscale hospitality company on target to become the most certified hotel company in the world to receive the Green Globe seal.
"We have been very committed to achieving Green Globe certification across all our properties in Europe and in the process enjoyed very positive feedback and engagement from our employees," said Ola Ivarsson, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts' Chief Operating Officer Europe.
- Thursday, 19 April 2012 | Submitted by Richard Blume
The Natural Step invites you to join us at the Stockholm +40 Conference next week. The meeting builds from the UN Stockholm Conference in 1972. We are pleased to host a round table discussion on food in collaboration with the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. We would also like to take the opportunity to invite you to an open dialogue meeting set up in conjunction to the conference. The dialogue meeting is planned for Sunday between 1-4 pm and will take you into a discussion of the coming challenges and sustainability. The dialogue springs out of a network of organizations and initiatives.
- Wednesday, 18 April 2012 | Submitted by Richard Blume
Welcome to The Natural Step's landing site covering our approach to sustainable chemical management.
Today's use of industrial chemicals is far from sustainable.
A history of mistrust toward the chemical industry and numerous cases where downstream effects of chemicals have been discovered long after substances have been released on the market have meant that chemical management is a controversial subject.Tuesday, 17 April 2012 | Submitted by Regina Hauser
The first rule of Wendell Berry’s 17 Rules for a Sustainable Community is: Always ask of any proposed change or innovation: What will this do to our community? How will this affect our common wealth?
This rule encapsulates the element of sustainability often missed: social equity. This is somewhat ironic, because the common definition of sustainable development since 1987 has been “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Most organizations even use common vernacular for sustainability: The “three-legged stool” or “triple bottom line” are used as shorthand for economy, environment and equity.
In practice, however, few organizations measure their social equity performance beyond their own employment practices. Some organizations also include philanthropic contributions in their equity measures. While both of these measurements are important, are they enough?