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SSC's 2013 Sustainability Progress Report
Transcript of SSC's 2013 Sustainability Progress Report
(such as GRI, SASB, and WRI) provide the independent benchmarks, guidelines, expectations, and best practices that we rely on to guide our clients in the right direction. In turn, we provide detailed feedback through formal and informal processes about how we see their work playing out in the real world.
Sustainability Networks and Associations
(such as ISSP, Net Impact, and B Corp) provide a place for us to connect with like-minded professionals. While there are dozens of opportunities to network with sustainability practitioners, we strive to focus on groups where there is an equal transfer of value--places that we can contribute our knowledge and expertise, and where we receive commensurate insight, camaraderie, and inspiration.
Colleges and Universities
play an important part in helping us recruit new interns and consultants, and in providing much-needed research and analysis into sustainability concepts. In return, we make it a priority to speak at as many educational events as possible.
Local and Federal Government
appreciates our taxes each year. In return, we are provided with community services and infrastructure that we could never develop on our own. Government cares about our compliance with applicable laws and regulation, and occasionally acknowledges our commitment to sustainability with awards and recognition.
Local Nonprofits and Community Groups
receive our support through our sponsorship of local activities, volunteer time, and pro bono consulting services. We typically don't receive anything tangible in return, other than warm fuzzy feelings.
such as our in-house marketing and operations manager, keep our office running day-to-day. That includes running our website, coordinating schedules, and acting as a gatekeeper for consultants. In addition to fair pay, we seek to provide autonomy, room for growth, and a reasonable work/life balance.
in the 600+ member SSC Consultant Network provide us with an unparalleled breadth and depth of experience, and give us the ability to solve virtually any sustainability problem under the sun. In return, we provide financial compensation to those consultants that join SSC projects, and act as a hub of information between and among interested parties. Consultants want us to provide exciting, challenging, and ethical work for them. They often don't care about the sustainability impacts of our internal operations, preferring instead to focus on the results of our engagement--e.g. the change we are able to facilitate towards a more sustainable society.
hire us to help them more effectively integrate sustainability into their careers, through one-on-one coaching, group mentoring, or the purchase of our on-demand training options. They want to know that we're honest, trustworthy, and practical in our approach to sharing our sustainability advice. These individual generally don't care about details like our carbon footprint or our approach to human rights in the supply chain, but are often interested in learning more about how we have grown as a firm and how we manage our business.
hire us to provide strategic sustainability consulting services, and by doing so they help us pay our bills! These clients care most about our ability to provide them with expert advice and support that is a good fit with their culture, value chain, and sustainability ambitions. They like that we "walk the talk" and apply our sustainability ethos to our own operations -- but are not particularly concerned with the contents of the report itself.
provide us with superb entry-level support in areas like research, competitive analysis, and document editing. They appreciate a challenging workplace with exposure to a wide variety of projects. They are hungry to learn about all aspects of our business, including both internal sustainability impacts and the outcomes of our client work.
Progress Against 2012 Goals
(like our graphic designer, business coach, and accountant) important parts of our extended team. In addition to doing awesome work, it's important that we share a common set of values. They want us to be responsible clients (and pay our bills on time) and create real value in the world.
that provide us basic "stuff" -- like office supplies, furniture, and travel logistics -- typically don't care about us (other than our prompt payment!). We screen these suppliers for basic environmental and social responsibility but typically don't engage with them on substantive issues.
Renew our B Corp certification. Revamp our online store for a smoother payment process.
Update our carbon footprint baseline to account for new office space. Begin tracking waste and recycling.
Find new office space, and set up a co-working environment that allows the SSC Consultant Network to engage face-to-face.
2013 Sustainability Progress
But why did our carbon footprint increase so much from 2012 to 2013?
Overall, we're on the right track...
One international business trip to Asia accounted for about half of the increase -- although by combining two projects with Asian clients into one trip, we were able to dramatically reduce travel impacts.
The second half of the increase was due to a change in the way we tackle waste audits for a particular client in New Jersey.
In past years, we've brought our summer interns to conduct the waste audit -- they carpool together from DC to keep impacts low.
This year, we invited members of the SSC Consultant Network (who are often hungry for practical experience in the field) to join us. Several of the participants traveled significant distances by air and car -- and that greatly increased the carbon footprint of the project.
You've seen our performance highlights for 2013. If you're curious about our sustainability policies and programs (which don't change as frequently), please see our 2012 Sustainability Report. It's available on our website at www.sustainabilityconsulting.com.
Or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1.202.470.3246. We'd love to hear from you!
We like to compare our absolute carbon emissions against adjusted numbers -- like how much carbon we generated relative to staff size and revenue. So far, we've seen a consistent trend line.
Air travel is consistently our biggest carbon driver.
As our air travel has decreased over the years, our ground travel has increased. That's fine by us -- ground travel has a significantly lower carbon impact, so every mile that we can switch helps the environment, and our carbon footprint.
Develop better outreach processes to connect and network with like-minded businesses.
We improved our customer relationship management (CRM) software, which allowed us to more strategically engage with a wider variety of partners, clients, and consultants.
Expand our administrative and project management staff.
We added a second support staff position to help us manage an increased workload, and have identified two other positions to fill in the future.
Keep our carbon footprint at or below 7.5 pounds of carbon per work hour.
This year, we generated 13.5 pounds of carbon per person. Why? Check out our environmental profile for more information. (Hint: it's all about the business travel.)