The State of Green Business, 2013

The 2013 State of Green Business report, our sixth annual, has just been published. It tells a story of the shifting business reality — a world slowly coming to grips with a changing climate, economic volatility and great risks to business as usual.

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Level 5 Relevance

Last week at the Fast Casual Executive Summit, I introduced “Level 5 Relevance,” a framework for re-thinking corporate social responsibility.  The framework outlines how companies can become a force for positive change while enhancing their customer appeal and long-term competitiveness.

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The Report Report: Products, Packaging, CFOs, Cleantech, and More

Perhaps it’s seasonal, but the past few weeks have seen a gusher of studies, surveys, analyses, and reports from a wide range of organizations, including three of the Big 4 accounting firms. I’ve perused the latest crop and summarized six of them below.

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CSR at 20: An interview with BSR's Aron Cramer

Corporate social responsibility is entering its third decade as a mainstream business movement, at least as measured by the history of BSR, the organization formed in 1992 as Business for Social Responsibility, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. It's a good time to take stock — of the organization, the movement, and the trends shaping its future.

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Can Companies Grow, and Profit, With No Impact?

One of the Big 4 accounting firms has been noodling the idea that we can create an economic model "that allows 9-10 billion people to live in harmony with nature and in well-being." One might reasonably conclude that they've been sniffing a little too much red ink.

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Why Sustainability Execs Should Shun the S-word

It seems that the most effective thing sustainability executives in large companies can do is to stop talking about sustainability.

That's my takeaway from a new report, published today, by VOX Global, Weinreb Group Sustainability Recruiting and the UC Berkeley chapter of Net Impact.

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The New Sustainability Language: Materiality and Risk

"Materiality” is becoming part of the fabric of sustainable business.

For the uninitiated, materiality is an accounting or auditing term that refers to the estimated effect that a given piece of information may have on a company’s value—its current or future stock price, for example. If a CEO has been diagnosed with a terminal disease; if a company is being investigated for bribery by a government agency; if its profit or loss needs to be restated by a significant amount—all are examples of something that is “material,” from an investor or stakeholder point of view.

So, when does sustainability become a materiality issue?

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Why Wells Fargo Is Banking On Sustainability

Today, Wells Fargo announced a major environmental commitment consisting of three 2020 goals: $30 billion in loans and investments in clean technologies, energy-efficient buildings, environmental innovation; $100 million in community grants and increased volunteerism for grassroots environmental initiatives; and energy-efficiency, waste-diversion, green building, and greenhouse gas targets.

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Activating Sustainability at the Brand Level

What is sustainability at your company? A laundry list of generic social and environmental initiatives, or a powerful driver of brand goals?

Corporate sustainability can be much more than reducing carbon or water footprint. More than LEED and ISO-14001 certification. More than philanthropy and cause marketing… or reduced packaging… or a greener and more accountable supply chain.

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Sustainability: What’s a Brand Got To Do with It?

There’s been a really provocative and passionate debate going on over at the Environmental Leader website about sustainability. It’s challenged me to think about brands, social capital, and sustainability in new ways and so I wanted to share some of my insights with you.

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