Posts tagged ‘sustainability consulting’
Penned by Tom
It’s always good to look at the bottom-line when assessing the environmental movement. There are a plethora of interesting success stories which demonstrate to executives the importance and benefits of going green, even if you’re a climate-change denier. Here are a few examples from Sustainable Business Consulting:
- A Global cleaning products company maximized natural lighting, installed occupancy sensors and enabled employees to control heating and cooling at their work stations. The ROI: Saved nearly $100,000 a year.
- A Fortune 500 global technology company gave employees the option to telecommute from home. The ROI: Saved $67.8 million in real estate costs in just one year and reduced 29,000 tons of CO2 emissions, and increased worker productivity by 34 percent.
- A 41-story, Class A+ office building with 1,000,000 square feet of office space located in the US reduced unnecessary after-hours and weekend lighting and initiated a high efficiency lighting retrofit. The ROI: Saved $386,000 in annual operating expenses.
- A Global cleaning products company restored native and drought tolerant plants, such as prairie grass and wild flowers, to the site. ROI: Saved $2,000 per acre in annual maintenance costs.
- A Global forest products company encouraged employees to commute using vanpools, carpools, walking or biking. ROI: Reduced total vehicle miles driven by 1.2 million and reduced emissions by 66,884 pounds of CO2 in one year.
- A US-based independent federal agency developed an advanced preventative maintenance inspection process for its delivery fleet. The ROI: Saved $3 million and 330,000 quarts of oil to date.
- A Cancer research center utilized off-hour lighting, fan shutoffs, occupancy sensors, high-efficiency chillers, L.E.D. exit signs, heat recovery from washers and efficient lighting. The ROI: Saved $317,000 annually, which is enough electricity to power 1,200 homes annually.
- A Medical center sent used toner cartridges to a recycling company that refurbishes and refills them. The ROI: Saved $20,000 annually.
- A Healthcare company recycled more than 6,000 tons of paper, plastic, glass and aluminum waste. The ROI: Saved more than $300,000 in disposal costs, diverted more than 18,000 cubic yards form landfills.
- A Major US-based retailer changed the specifications for individual item packaging and reduced the quantity of excess pins clips, bags, paperboard inserts, tape and tissue paper in its items. The ROI: Saved an estimated $4.5 million in labor costs and eliminated approximately 1.5 million pounds of waste.
Since February, we’ve been putting out daily advice for green jobseekers. If you’re new to our blog or want to poke around in a specific topic, here’s a nearly-complete list of our advice posts. Have a look around!
Bright Green Talent’s 5 Ways to Ramp up your Job Search
Getting Oriented to Go Green
Getting Radically Tempered: Creating Change from the Inside
Paying it Forward
To School or Not to School?
Job Search Tip: Quality over Quantity to Keep Your Sanity
Linking People and Planet: Our Partnership with Solar Richmond
“Oh no, please don’t make me NETWORK!”
Students and Recent Grads:
The Real Deal on Green Jobs for Students and Recent Grads
Get Skills; Get Savvy Part I
Get Connected (Networking 101)
How Not to Be a Jobseeker Horror Story
Resume Boot Camp I
Resume Boot Camp II
Resume Boot Camp III
penned by Matt
My name is Matt and I’m a green career transition-er.
I have been working with the fun, ambitious and extremely intelligent crew over here at Bright Green Talent for just over a month now as “A Computer Whiz Kid/Internet Guru” fellow (cooler name for intern) working on their internet marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization, for those new to the term).
Well, actually, I also have an internship at a Sustainability Consulting Firm (www.sustainabilityconsulting.com). So, I am working two internships simultaneously as well as working occasionally in my previous job as a commercial photographer – a very busy schedule indeed!
Despite feeling like I am spreading myself a bit thin at times, I feel like I am completely on the right track as I have finally found a sector where I feel like I can make a difference. Yay for green jobs!
So what has my path been so far?
I graduated UCLA about 10 years ago with a degree in Int’l Economics with my sights focused on investment banking. In one I-banking interview I was asked what my idea of “success” was and after a reflective pause, I replied: “To make a lot of money?” (thinking that was the response that they were looking for). That’s when I realized that my heart was clearly not in finance. I was too young to know what I wanted and thought that’s what they wanted to hear. Bad idea.
I then went on to work for British Petroleum (or, Beyond Petroleum as they are now called), following in my father’s footsteps (he worked in oil exploration for most of his career). It has definitely helped my resume to have worked at a large company like this. This corporate experience has been crucial to my skillset, giving me some great business skills.
Being a photography enthusiast, I then went on to start my own business as a freelance photographer (see my arty photos at www.matthewsavage.com) working for advertising and editorial clients. This developed some of my marketing skills and made me persistent and resourceful. Being able to problem solve is something everyone should work on.
“Jack of all trades, master of none”? Well, for me I think this broad range of experience has been an asset. I can pull from lots of life experience on a range of different problems.
Here are my quick tips for you green career transition –ers:
- Getting informed, but get focused. Once I decided that I wanted to make this move, I read as much as I could on everything and anything “green”. Since I am interested in Clean Tech, I read “The Clean Tech Revolution” by Clint Wilder and Ron Pernick – a great overview of the tech side of the green industry (highly recommended). However, once you have a good handle on the big picture, try to focus on one specific area of focus. Informational interviews are a great way to gather information, meet new people, and find out more about a particular job role.
- Networking, networking, networking! The sooner you learn this skill, the better. When I decided that I wanted to “go green” I started attending all sorts of networking events and got lots of cards, entering all contacts into my personal address book. Leverage LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) to find people that you might want to meet or work with. I kept bumping into Christina at tons of networking events, including Green Drinks (www.greendrinks.org), to the point where it ended up being ridiculous if we DIDN’T work together.
- Develop your personal brand. Create a blog for you own voice. Use social networks wisely to engage your friends and colleagues. How will people talk about you and describe you in one sentence? Consider it like a company tag line, like: “Matt is the guy we can rely on for blank”.
- Get a new – and specific – skillset. You might want to take a class on something. I took a series of night classes all summer on Integrated Marketing. When I got the chance to use this newfound knowledge at Bright Green Talent, I jumped at the opportunity.
- Get involved. Engage with your contacts and get involved in events. I submitted photos to BGT’s photo competition. Get out there and do stuff so people can see you!
- Love what you do, but also and maybe more importantly, love who you work with! I am enjoying my time at BGT because the people here are young, smart, and fun. Remember how important that will be in your long-term career…
I hope this helps. Feel free to contact me if any of you career transition people need some specific advice. I am happy to share my knowledge.
P.S. Bright Green Talent is hiring two new interns! Go for it!
Penned by Christina
“Don’t think of climate change as an environmental issue; think of it as a market issue. In fact, you can remain agnostic about the science of climate change but still recognize its importance as a business issue.”*
As individuals from all kinds of backgrounds and industries push into the field of sustainability consulting, it can become murky as to what that work even entails. This is especially true when considering the different perspectives and methodologies that are employed and adding even more complexity is the variability among clients and their needs. Thus, this quote sums up for me what sustainability consultants are trying to do – they help businesses address and redress the way in which they operate so that they will be better positioned for the market of the future a la decreasing their negative impact on the natural environment. Some argue that like the trends of international business and e-commerce, sustainability will at some point cease to be its own discipline and assume its rightful place within all of business practices. (At which time sustainability consultants will become just “consultants” and we can never have enough of those!)
I am often asked to rattle off sustainability consulting firms so I decided to do just that right here (not an exhaustive list!):
Lesser-Known, Boutique Firms
- InterfaceRAISE (offshoot from well-known sustainability pioneer Interface, Inc.)
- Strategic Sustainability Consulting
- Business Evolution Consulting
- Green Squad (Waste Management endeavour)
- Garretson Group (now Pinyon Partners LLC)
- Five Winds International
There are countless others – not to mention (though I guess I am) many firms that have traditionally focused in environmental consulting (more on the compliance and regulatory side), marketing, law, PR, etc. that are building out sustainability practices and showing up at events such as the Sustainable Brands Conference or Net Impact’s National Conference. If you have friends or a network rooted in a “traditional” field, you should reach out to them to talk with them about what those plans might be. At best, it positions you for the future and at worst, you further educate yourself on where this field is and is NOT going by giving you a sense of the ubiquity of these ideas from an industry and geographical perspective.
I also know of a number of people who have ventured out to create their own sustainability practices. This takes an established network, an ability to display salient work experience, a salesperson’s tenacity and potentially some savings in the bank so you’re not sleeping on the street in between gigs. This is a tough path to forge but if you have all of the above, it is certainly possible…I’ve seen it!
Finally, the lack of a specific definition for what sustainability consulting IS also probably adds to its attraction — it’s easy to think, “Hey, I can help a company turn off its lights more or use fewer plastic water bottles.” Next week, I’ll talk more about the specific skills that are important if this is indeed the type of work you want to do. Through outlining those skills, you should be able to evaluate whether sustainability consulting is really where you fit best or whether there is a different space where your skill set and background is a better fit AND you can still have the impact you want.
* “Climate Change: What’s Your Business Strategy?” by Andrew J. Hoffman and John G. Woody. I recommend this book as it serves as a crash course highlighting the major issues that companies should be considering to be better positioned for the future. It’s a quick read as it is a part of the Memo to the CEO series. (In the interest of full disclosure, one of the authors was my adviser at the University of Michigan and The Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise.)