Presentation on theme: "ReThink Business How Environmental Principles Can Help Us Achieve Sustainable Success."— Presentation transcript:
reThink Business How Environmental Principles Can Help Us Achieve Sustainable Success
This workshop was made possible because of generous contributions from The Natural Step Canada, The Greater Sudbury Development Corporation, and The Trillium Foundation. reThink Green thanks them for their continued support.
Learning Objectives By the end of this workshop, hopefully we’ll have learned … What sustainability means The 4 system conditions - ‘rules’ for the development of a sustainable society How these system conditions affect the way we live and do business How to apply sustainable thinking to solve contemporary business problems
How To Destroy the World…
You’re an interstellar consultant hired to ‘decommission’ the Earth. Standing on the moon we see a beautiful, self-contained environment… how can we break this system?
For Example… We could take toxic substances from within the Earth, dig them up, and spread them throughout our environment. We could create entirely new toxic substances, produce them rapidly, and spread them throughout our environment. We could physically degrade our surroundings until we’ve fundamentally changed our environment. We could exploit people, undermine their livelihoods, and slowly degrade the world’s social environment.
So What is Sustainability?
“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” - Bruntland Commission Report, 1987 “Sustainability is the capacity to endure.” - Wikipedia, 2013 “A method for the harvesting or utilization of a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.” - Miriam Webster’s Dictionary, 2013 “Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.” - US Environmental Protection Agency “Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.” - Environment Canada Definitions “Enough, for all, forever.” - Bob Willard, Sustainability Advantage “The quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance” - David Suzuki Foundation
Sustainability in 2 Minutes
Flawed Interpretations The “Cylinder Paradigm” The earth has unlimited resources The earth has unlimited ability to absorb our wastes safely We can go on and on like this forever... The earth’s overall supply Society’s overall demand
The Funnel Paradigm The reality is that we have created a situation for ourselves where we have less and less room to manoeuvre. What impacts does this have on our businesses and communities?
Coffee Break: System Condition Quiz When you buy Fair Trade coffee, which system condition are you helping to achieve? Hint: Fair Trade = Premium Prices for Farmers The “Fair Trade” system involves customers paying farmers premium prices for their coffee products. This allows the producers to overcome some of the traditional economic barriers associated with non-Fair Trade coffee sales The Answer: System Condition 4
Coffee Break: System Condition Quiz When you buy organically produced coffee, which system condition are you helping to achieve? Hint: Organic Products = Produced Without Pesticides The Answer: System Condition 2
Coffee Break: System Condition Quiz When you buy shade-grown coffee, which system condition are you helping to achieve? Hint: Shade Grown = Coffee Grown Without Cutting Down Forests The Answer: System Condition 3
Coffee Break: System Condition Quiz When coffee is shipped long distances from growing areas to markets and consumers, which system condition is being violated? Hint: Fossil Fuels for Transportation = Substances From the Earth’s Crust The Answer: System Condition 1
Back-casting: Where Am I Going To Live?
Group Exercise 1: IKEA’s Supply Chain
The Background: You’re the new product manager of IKEA’s North American operations. The company employs 53,000 workers across a network of over 150 stores in 29 countries on four continents. Recently adopted environmental legislation has pushed the retail community to embrace energy-efficient products in their stores. If IKEA doesn’t take a proactive stance on this issue, there will surely be pressure on the company from its customers, employees, and other stakeholders.
The Problem: IKEA had been selling conventional incandescent light bulbs for some time. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are 5 times more efficient than incandescents, and last between 8 and 10 times longer. The Product Manager’s task is to source a supply of new compact fluorescent bulbs (or CFL’s) in response to the new regulation and customer demand.
What’s The Solution? Product Decision Factors – CFL’s - Less use of uranium / fossil fuels in manufacturing - Contains trace amounts of mercury - Less mining - Greater up front cost - Less nuclear waste - Energy efficient and longer lasting
What Really Happened: IKEA found a Chinese manufacturer who could produce the bulbs with mercury content below the European standard. The company worked with the manufacturer to ensure that fair labour practices were in place in its facilities. IKEA cut their bulb prices by one third and offered every Swedish household one free bulb to get them started. They developed a mercury recycling program with a German company and offered to take back used CFL’s for free, so that 99% of the mercury contained in the bulbs was recovered. The campaign significantly increased household sales of CFL’s in Europe and ultimately proved to be a profitable business strategy for IKEA.
Group Exercise 2: The Mom and Pop Grocery Store
The Background: You’re the manager of a small grocery store that sells local food The store is a co-operative, meaning all of your members have a say in decisions that affect the business Your membership is highly aware of environmental issues and their biggest concern is the eco-friendliness of the store’s operation The Problem: You’ve been losing money and customers because of strict environmental policies that members have established Reducing fuel consumption, energy use, and carrying only regional products has made the store an ‘uncomfortable’ place to shop for customers The business model needs to be re-evaluated or the store will be forced to close How can we grow a viable grocery business while still keeping our membership’s commitment to being sustainable???
The Solution: Store Needs - More revenue to continue to pay staff / overhead costs - ‘Customer comfort’ - amenities like air conditioning to make the store inviting to customers - Maintaining supply and wide variety of food products to cater to customer needs - Availability – store needs to be accessible for customers Membership Needs - Minimize the fuel consumed in transporting food - Minimize energy / electricity used in the store - Maintain a strict ‘local product’ policy to ensure the food available at the store was eco-friendly - Streamline budget for staff and store in order to ease some of the financial pressure facing the store
What Really Happened: Our case study is based on the experience of Eat Local Sudbury, a co-operative local food store in downtown Sudbury. Their first decision in addressing these problems was to reach out to their customers for ideas. Eat Local broadened its definition of ‘local’ and began stocking more items from across Ontario. Full air conditioning and refrigeration systems were installed in a newly renovated. The co-op established the ‘We Want Northern Chicken’ campaign based on customer demand for poultry, improving their product selection in the process. The Eat Local team has made partnerships with local food groups in neighboring communities to share freight and transportation costs. The store also expanded its business hours and is currently open every day of the week, with at least one staff person present to assist customers, answer questions, and stock merchandise.
Did It Make A Difference? Eat Local Sudbury is now surpassing their monthly sales targets by 30 – 40 %
The business has realized a 100% increase in revenue when compared to this time last year 50% increase in membership sales, with a record number of individuals investing in full-year memberships The co-op has grown from approximately 400 members in January of this year to around 600 at the end of August The business has observed a remarkable uptick in the amount of positive word-of-mouth they’re generating amongst the public, their network of food producers continues to grow, and revenues are climbing steadily Did It Make A Difference?
Our Brand New Co-Working Space…
Thank You All for Participating! 4 System Conditions Backcasting Sustainability in business context Case Studies