Sustainability Consulting –
Key Trends 2012
By David Sherry
By David Sherry
Tables of Contents
The Wave of Green IT
Supply Chain Transparency
Water risks becoming a new reality
What is next?
“There is sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed” Mohanda K Gandhi
anagement consultants occupy the top of the economic food chain, spending heavily on business research in order to reduce client costs and enhance competiveness. Now, they are in a credible position to introduce the importance of sustainability to senior executives. In the past, sustainability has been seen as no more than a necessary compliance. However, with the current push from regulation for higher environmental targets, there is a growing demand from consumers and business’ for greener, eco- friendlier and ethical products and services. So what does this mean for businesses? It means that sustainability can no longer be treated as an add-on as it is an essential ingredient for a business’ future planning and success. From the 2012 global sustainability consultant survey, author David Schatsky notes that “a minority of businesses are actively engaged in remaking their strategies and remaking their business practices today, but there are thousands of companies below the Fortune 500 that have a lot of work to do, and that represents a very fertile ground for consultants to be offering their services".
In this paper I will be looking at the current trends in the sustainability industry and which consultancy firms are tailoring their services to abide by these emerging influences. Examples of such trends in the industry are: * The wave of Green IT
* Sustainability Topics in the Annual Report
* Shareholder activism
* The expansion of environmental conscious operations of businesses * Employee engagement on sustainability
The Wave of Green IT
Concerned for the health of the environment and that of their own performance, companies worldwide are very much in motion of lessening their impact on the natural world. Deloitte Consulting services released annual reports from which surveys show how more than 90% of respondents say their company has taken aggressive or moderate steps to improve its environmental performance.
The main focus of green initiatives is increasingly on technology – acting both as a target and an enabler of change. When IT systems are appropriately deployed, they offer better tracking of supplies and costs and improve the processes of business-unit activities e.g. as energy management and reporting applications gain more traction, companies are able to reduce and monitor power consumption. Efficiency, environmentally friendlier operations and cost-saving are the advantages of such investments, strategy, risk and social commitments, however challenges have been identified. Companies can see what they have accomplished, but taking the next step forward requires some help, not the least of which needs to come from the development of new technologies. Companies are able to take steps internally to improve efficiency and cut costs, but the significant step forward comes from implementation of environmentally sensitive solutions that come to market. This progress allows the companies:
* Mitigate risk
* Strive to becoming a good corporate citizen
* Be a place where people want to work
* Deserve business
“If the business’ environment and competitive situation change, then an evolution in the way the business does thing is called for” (Wickham 2004). Step forward the consultants, such as those from Green IT consulting heavyweight, Deloitte, who avail of these opportunities to serve clients such as Wells Fargo’s Enterprise Hosting Services (WF). WF, who relies on a vast IT infrastructure to service...
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