March 16, 2010
I spent last week in Florida conducting researching for this week’s blog – scuba diving. Down below, it’s hard to concentrate on anything other than the fish, the coral, and the sound of your air bubbles.
Recreational divers who were certified for scuba diving in the 1990’s or earlier did not use a pressure gauge or depth gauge – just a mask, fins, weight belt and tank. It was a macho type sport. These divers were taught to ascend to the surface at a speed no faster than the exhaled bubbles were going to the surface. That was considered to be safe.
Today, diving is much more sophisticated using a computer that provides modest details such as air pressure remaining in the tank, depth, temperature, decompression times, and time to return to the surface. Divers use this computer to determine when to stop at predetermined depths before reaching the surface. A safety stop is generally done at a depth well below the surface for a fixed time as a procedure for enhanced safety and to control the ascent.
Last week, in a different deep dive, CERES, a highly regarded national network of investors and environmental organizations, released a white paper report which concluded that companies must make immediate changes if they are going to win in the “resource constrained 21st Century.” I would call the report an environmental safety stop. In the report, The 21st Century Corporation: The Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability, CERES provides a roadmap to incorporate sustainability into the boardroom. Key ingredients include renewable energy, energy efficiency, and reducing carbon emissions.
Companies at this current safety stop include forward looking companies such as Pepsi, General Mills, and IBM. They are studying the data and are determining that we can’t proceed as we did in the past. This safety stop is all about sustainability and finding ways to stabilize, improve, and reduce the carbon footprint.
While many are skeptical and think that sustainability and profitability cannot be used in the same sentence, we think that companies that are ahead of the curve are being rewarded. Sustainable businesses are leaders.
A growing number of investors are clearly ahead of the curve and recently 658 asset owners with over $18 Trillion of assets stated that sustainability should be included in investment decisions. Like it or not, the tide is turning. Just see what the largest U.S. state retirement plans are saying. And, doing. They didn’t just jump on the bandwagon.
Click on the link and get a better understanding: http://www.ceres.org/ceresroadmap. It summarizes the 20 expectations for sustainability but also has 200 company best practice examples.
Scuba diving today is different than 10 or 15 years ago. Likewise, corporate approach and philosophy is as well.