Sustainability

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Sustainability Dialects

All functional areas have their own “language” to express the concepts most important to their roles in a company. In the fourth installment of his series on the Sustainability Insurgency, Gregory Unruh explains how CSR officers can introduce sustainability as part of the conversation in different functions.

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No Free Market for Energy

The idea that energy is a “free-market good” is a myth that needs to be abandoned. Subsidies for energy exist for good reason. The authors argue that in order to wean ourselves off hydrocarbon dependence, U.S. and global policies that subsidize oil and gas production at higher rates than renewable energy production need to be changed to reduce the bias in favor of hydrocarbons.

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The Trouble with Supply Chains

The UN’s Global Compact report identifies auditing the supply chain as the biggest obstacle to putting sustainability principle into practice. Companies simply don’t have enough information about suppliers’ sustainability practices to determine which links on the supply chain will provide the best outcome. But as global data sources become more all-encompassing — and companies’ analytics capabilities grow more sophisticated — that is changing.

Jim Rogers, Chairman, President and CEO of Duke Energy.

Duke Energy’s Plan To Take Over Your Kitchen — and Take Down Your Energy Use

Can a company that supplies electricity really become a partner in helping customers optimize their electric use? Absolutely, says Jim Rogers, chairman, president and CEO of Duke Energy: “We can make it totally back of mind for you, and we can create huge productivity gains in the process.”

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Playing Russian Roulette — With the Gun Pointed at Our Children

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How can you explain to ordinary people the dangers of not taking action to lower the risks associated with climate change in the future? That's a question MIT Sloan School professor John Sterman has given thought to -- which was evident when he gave a presentation on climate change last week at a systems thinking conference at MIT.

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MIT $100K Winning Start-up Has Sustainability Aims

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Last night, C-Crete Technologies won the annual MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition and $100,000 in start-up capital.  The start-up has developed a method for producing a nanoengineered cement designed to be both stronger than traditional cement -- and with a lower carbon footprint.

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Image courtesy of Wal-mart.

Outcome-Driven Supply Chains

When properly designed and operated, the traditional supply chain has offered customers three primary benefits—reduced cost, faster delivery and improved quality. But managers are increasingly recognizing that these advantages, while necessary, are not always sufficient in the modern business world. The supply chain should be designed and managed to deliver one or more of six basic outcomes: cost, responsiveness, security, sustainability, resilience and innovation.

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Innovation to the rescue?

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Will technology innovation eventually help lead the economy out of recession?   Simon Johnson of the MIT Sloan School of Management is predicting "a wave of entrepreneurship,"  which will start "right away" but whose total effect won't be felt for about five years, according to a recent article in The Boston Globe.

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The benefits of pricing carbon

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Sign of the times: In a wide-ranging speech on energy policy, a leading U.S. energy executive discusses the need to place some type of price on carbon dioxide emissions.

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Sustainability reporting catches on

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More and more large public U.S. companies are reporting on their sustainability efforts. According to a recent report from the Sustainable Investment Research Analyst Network (SIRAN), 86% of the Standard & Poor's 100 companies had sustainability information on their websites by the end of 2007,  up from 58%  in the middle of 2005.

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Peter Senge on sustainability and climate change

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This month's Strategy+Business contains a beautiful, must-read article co-authored by MIT Sloan School's Peter Senge (with Bryan Smith of York University's Sustainable Enterprise Academy and Nina Kruschwitz).

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