Wal-Mart Sustainability Index

“Full Cost” Sustainability Accounting – The Key to Growth for Greener Products?

This morning Jeffrey Hollender, the Chairman of Seventh Generation, gave the keynote for our Green Enterprise 2010 Seminar.

One powerful concept he described was “full cost” sustainability accounting whereby companies are required to include their external environmental costs (ie. things like pollution or resource consumption) into their corporate earnings. Read the rest of this entry »

    Groom Energy’s April 15th Green Enterprise 2010 seminar

    We’ve excited to announce our next Groom Energy seminar, entitled Green Enterprise 2010, which will be held April 15th at the Embassy Suites Hotel near Boston’s Logan Airport.

    As with our previous seminars our target audience remains corporate energy and sustainability managers who wish to hear and discuss best practices, case study based observations.

    Last year our first two seminars had a direct focus on the emerging market for Enterprise Carbon Accounting (ECA), a market we had identified and about which we published research.  Our February 25th Boston ECA event featured Mindy Lubber from Ceres who likened climate impact to an off balance sheet risk which should be disclosed by public companies.  Our follow-on May 14th San Francisco ECA event was highlighted by a practical case study panel with presentations from Applied Materials, HP, Intuit and Sony. Read the rest of this entry »

      The Wal-Mart effect – a Sustainability Index for every industry?

      So first off apologies that I’ve been remiss in updating our blog the last few months – it’s Columbus Day weekend and I’m finally catching up….

      Since our Wal-Mart Supplier Readiness Seminar a few weeks ago the broad impact of this program is clear – we’ve seen multiple suppliers rushing to learn how to respond to the Wal-Mart Sustainability Index (WSI) and how to boost their performance once they’ve completed the initial fifteen question survey.

      As with any new Wal-Mart initiative, even companies not in it’s retail supply chain are studying the WSI’s relevance to their own business and industry.  These companies are left wondering whether the WSI is a precursor to their own industry’s environmental report card or whether this is just another Wal-Mart false start RFID project.

      While the US considers its climate position going into Copenhagen, the SEC ponders whether to force climate reporting on financial statements, and CDP offers an emerging standard for voluntary corporate reporting, the WSI has already become today’s most important mandated environmental reporting trend for US corporations.  Unlike these other programs, this reporting has near term and real business consequences.

      Like with the CDP, large companies are already set up to respond to something like the WSI.  However, mid-sized and smaller companies are struggling to figure out how fast they need to gear up for their own industry’s version of the WSI.   Most of these companies care a lot more about their current cost of energy than their carbon emissions, much less their sustainability costs.  But Wal-Mart is a leading indicator they cannot dismiss….

      Three years from now we may look back at the WSI as having initiated regular sustainability reporting for Wal-Mart’s entire supplier base.  More profoundly, WSI’s bigger legacy might be having jump started industries outside of retail to develop their own sustainability reporting indices.  And, if that reporting leads to  more proactive management of environmental impact, our friends at Wal-Mart will deserve a lot of the credit.

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