The 3rd annual Enablon Sustainable Performance Forum, held at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago, IL. Enablon, a provider of sustainability performance software, started the meeting in an interesting manner - with a safety discussion. The head of security at Trump stood up before the key note and gave us precise directions on how to evacuate the building should there be an emergency. But, I digress. The forum itself brought together executives from Global 2000 organizations, the BSR, the C
The ROI of Sustainability
One of the topics that hit home most clearly for me (or perhaps it was just discussed the most) was the return on investment (ROI) factor when companies are looking to implement sustainability software.
For example, Bloomberg, the financial news provider, added environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data to its terminals in July 2009 as another factor for analysts to consider when evaluating the performance of companies. The data does not cost extra and reaches all 300,000 of Bloomberg's terminals to provide analysts with information about water usage, employee fatalities, toxicities, and other indicators of each individual company's sustainability performance. Of those organizations on the S&P 500 that report positive ESG indicators there is a direct correlation to positive stock growth as well.
There is no doubt that investing in sustainability software, such as Enablon's, will help companies:
- Stay ahead of regulations (both existing and future)
- Provide safety for workers
- Determine potential compliance gaps along the supply chain
- Increase the bottom line
We've also seen evidence that many companies are able to apply sustainability to their innovation processes and drive top line revenue growth as well. For example, Clorox introduced its Green Works line of cleaning supplies in 2008 sharing its eco-friendly ingredient list with consumers, thus entering a new market for Clorox. Initial sales were approximately $100 million and even during the recession the products are still bringing in around $60 million in sales.
Wizness – A Sustainability Platform
Sharing sustainability information is key to staying ahead of constantly changing government regulations, keeping consumers, shareholders, and the press informed on a company's green initiatives, and sharing information internally to co-workers for safety reasons. Enablon announced the Wizness (connection between Wise and Business) platform at the forum as a tool to do just this – share sustainability information with a known group of peers.
The platform is still in Beta but was announced to the public today, and will be rolled out formally towards the beginning of 2012. Enablon envisions it as a place to share, learn, and better understand best practices in regards to sustainability in a community setting.
Customers that are currently on the Enablon GXP (Global Exchange Platforms) will have access to Wizness and those that have access can invite peers to contribute as well. With the thought being that many sustainable initiatives happen across the supply chain and not just internal to an organization, Wizness wants to provide the structure to share and learn from that information by being the "go to" for sustainability information in a central location.
Each user of the community, however, has complete access over how much to share with the other peers in your network. For example, a company may be 100% open with employees on sustainability initiatives but share only a fraction of the information with certain suppliers.
The Wizness platform is in the genesis phase and will likely evolve as more companies and peers join the conversation. Key to Wizness' success will be:
- Keeping the community open enough to encourage discussion, while at the same time providing appropriate "firewalls" when necessary
- Providing unique information regarding sustainability that suppliers and manufacturers can't find else where
- Enabling a mobile version that community members can use to view information updates or add to the conversation