Market Gap Investments
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  • May25th

    Thanks to the participants at CPA Centering on Excellence in Perth on 13th May for engaging in an interesting discussion and providing two very challenging questions.

    The first question asked if I had seen any government departments provide meaningful sustainability reports.

     My response was that I was aware of a good report from the Victorian government from 2008 (released in November 2009), and that can be found at the following web site:

     http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/CA256F310024B628/0/16B5DC07267852D8CA257679000CEE68/$File/DSE+SER+Response.pdf

     The report is very comprehensive, makes a series of recommendations about dealing with environmental issues and gives a number of references for future reporting.

    I have also discovered a great sustainability report published by Toyota that identifies a number of issues and incorporates environment with economic performance that I’d like to share with you.

     This report is very focused, comprehensive, commercial and can be found at:

     http://www.toyota.com.au/toyota/events/environment/2009_sustainability_report

     I encourage you to have a look at both reports.

     From a business perspective, the Toyota report provides an excellent model of incorporating environmental sustainability within the economic framework we operate in. It also provides a level of insight into how environmental issues will impact on the supply chain.

    I have attached an abbreviated copy of the presentation with this blog.

     Web version Climate Change and Sustainability CPA -Week Perth WA 13 May 2010

    The second challenging issue raised was about the economics of solar power specifically (and renewables in general) when compared with existing methods of generating power. While we discussed that the economics will change when we incorporate a price of carbon in the equation, there is more to the business model that warrants discussion in the next blog.

  • May12th

    Web version – Climate_Project CPA Centering on Excellence Sydney NSW 12 May 2010

    A great title for an excellent program  CPA Australia are hosting over the next few weeks in several centres around Australia.

    This morning I had the privilege of speaking to a group of CPA’s in Sydney on climate change and sustainability.

    The PowerPoint slides that generated some conversation are attached to this post.

    A couple of things that we did discuss:

    • The use of language – what does sustainability really mean? There seems to be a push for sustainability to mean financial viability, social involvement and a range of other things that obscure the real intent of sustainability, which is environmentally focused. One definition of sustainability is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Report of the World Commission On Environment and Development: Our Common Future, The Bruntland Commission, United Nations, 1987)
    • The price of externalities. One participant raised the point that the reason we don’t value or recycle water or indeed assess carbon contributions fully is because there is no real economic price on either. How do we transition to an economy that prices these resources effectively?
    • Every bit helps. We have to look at our businesses and understand what our carbon footprint is as a start to the cultural change required to drive behavioural change. We all have a role to play in developing awareness and understanding the issues.

     Thanks for contributing to the discussion today.

  • May4th

    I heard it again today, and you’ve probably heard it a hundred times as well. The adage/definition – a consultant is someone who uses your watch to tell you the time.

     I’ve nodded agreement and wondered about the truth underlying the humour.

     And I wonder if that truth is a bad thing.

     How often do we make time to look at our watch, not only to tell the time, but to maximise the functionality we get from the watch?

     I am currently doing a lot of work looking at businesses in the sustainability space, and while almost all are doing things that are unique to their businesses, there are a number of initiatives that apply to all businesses.

     How do we share what is best practice from a sustainability perspective, while developing that unique market innovation that will improve our own bottom line? 

    Businesses that are applying the lens of sustainability to their practice also seem willing to share their stories – the successes and the failures, to help all businesses improve their environmental footprint.

     As an example, follow the link and have a look at the initiatives being applied by Linfox

     http://www.linfox.com/Environment.aspx

     The noticeable common traits:

    -                     Corporate will to change practices – and a clear governance structure to monitor performance

    -                     Changed business practices

    -                     Changed behaviours

    -                     Organisational focus on the environment

    -                     Managing the bottom line

    While the cultural change must come from within, sometimes it is external eyes and forces that help focus on the innovations needed to both drive change and improve profit. Sometimes we are so busy wearing the watch that we don’t bother to look at the time.

     Maybe now is the time to stop, have that all important look and ask for help if we decide that’s what we need.