In episode 043 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I interview Bob Willard, a leading expert on quantifying and selling the business value of corporate sustainability strategies.
Here are some of the questions I ask Bob:
- How would you describe sustainability in your own words?
- Why is sustainability an advantage for corporations?
- Why don’t more companies try to become more sustainable if there are so many benefits to it?
- For some reason, it seems that the initial immediate reactions to the thought of implementing sustainability are very negative. Why is that?
- What are some things I can do as an employee to help my company become more sustainable?
- How would you recognize a company that is practicing sustainability?
Quotes to think about:
- Sustainable development is meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. It can also be seen as the possibility that humans and other forms of life on earth will flourish forever. Bob defines it as: “Enough for all forever”.
- The direct benefits of sustainability usually include savings with the company’s energy bill, water bill, waste bill and materials by using less and substituting materials.
- The indirect benefits include making more money, attracting more people and getting more productivity from your employees.
- After years of research it was established that if a company would simply follow the best practices of other companies, they would make 51 – 81 % more profit than they are making today. If a company decides to take a pass on becoming more sustainable, they can jeopardize their profit by 16 – 36%.
- There is an idea that you have to get old in order for sustainability to pay off, but this is not the case. A lot of these have to do with behavior changes, and the secret to this is to get employees involved so that they can implement this process in a smart, profitable way.
- There are 3 major justifications for companies when they want to take initiative with sustainability:
- It is the right thing to do;
- It will yield financial benefits for the company;
- They can reduce risks.
- The more you understand and can articulate the benefits of sustainability approaches using quantified language, the better your chances are of having people sit still long enough to listen. Create a powerful presentation when presenting this to your company that will show that these ideas will produce great benefits to your company.
More details in this episode…
About Bob Willard:
Bob is a leading expert on quantifying and selling the business value of corporate sustainability strategies and has given over a thousand presentations to corporate, government, university, and NGO audiences. Bob applies his business and leadership experience from his 34-year career at IBM Canada to engage the business community in proactively avoiding risks and capturing opportunities by using smart environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategies.
He has authored four books: The Sustainability Advantage (2002), The Next Sustainability Wave (2005), The Sustainability Champion’s Guidebook (2009), and The New Sustainability Advantage (2012)., and is currently co-authoring the Future-Fit Business Benchmark. In addition, his two DVDs, free open-source business case simulators, and extensive Master Slide Set provide capacity-building resources for sustainability champions.
Bob currently serves on the boards of Forum for the Future U.S. and the Future-Fit Foundation, and serves on the B Lab Standards Advisory Council. He previously served on the boards of The Natural Step Canada (12 years), Learning for a Sustainable Future (3 years), Durham Sustain Ability (6 years), was a citizen member of the Durham Region Roundtable on Climate Change (5 years), and a member of the Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings (GISR) Technical Review Committee (3 years).
He is on the core faculty of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) certificate program. He was one of five inaugural inductees into the International Society of Sustainability Professionals’ Hall of Fame in 2011, received a Clean50 award in 2015, and is a three-time winner of a “Best for the World Overall” award for B Corps.
He is an ISSP Certified Sustainability Professional and received a PhD in sustainability from the University of Toronto in 2005. Residents of Ontario, Bob and his wife are the proud parents of three adult children and the proud grandparents of three grandsons. His mission is to ensure their quality of life is at least as good as he has enjoyed.
This episode is brought to you by PPI, the leader of civil engineering FE or PE exam preparations. Use promo code CIVIL for 20% discount at PPI2Pass.com/coach.
Books mentioned in this episode:
Please leave your comments or questions in the section below on Sustainability-related Initiatives.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success