How 50 Sustainability Leaders Outperform their Peers, Financially

Accenture, did a study recently on how sustainability leaders are doing to generate shareholders’ value in their report ‘Driving Value from Integrated Sustainability.’ They looked at the business performance and sustainability performance of 275 of Fortune 1,000 global companies, which has previously identified by the co. in their previous study.

Basically, the study confirmed what sustainability geeks already know. That when sustainability is integrated (or embedded) to business strategy, it pays off.

For those companies “sustainability at a minimum has no negative impact on a company’s financial performance.” In fact, the companies that are performing better on sustainability tend to perform better in shareholder returns.

Take a look at how the sustainable companies perform, especially the top 50 sustainability leaders.


  • The top 50 – outperformed the bottom 50 companies in three-year total return to shareholders by 16 percentage points. They outperformed the middle group of 50 average sustainability peers by 6 percentage points. It is important to point out that all companies experienced a significant decline in shareholders return during the past 3 years. However, the declines in returns for the sustainability leaders were markedly less pronounced.
  • Outperformed their bottom and middle 50 peers in five-year shareholder returns by an even impressive margin – 38 and 21 percentage points, respectively.

           [via Accenture]

Continue reading “How 50 Sustainability Leaders Outperform their Peers, Financially”


18 of the World’s Largest Ports, Not in the U.S.

THE world is changing. There is a shift in balance of distribution and cargo-handling capabilities of the world’s biggest container ports. The chart below from the Economist shows how the world is changing.

Twenty years ago in 1989, the US had 5 world’s biggest ports: Los Angeles, New York/NJ, Long Beach, Oakland and Seatle. Fast forward to 2009, Los Angeles and Long Beach are the remaining ports in the US that still maintain the container volumes – from the top 20.

The biggest shift: fourteen of the 20 world’s largest is now in Asia, with eight of the ports in China.

This cargo flow shows how connected a country to the world. Singapore, which is a small country by comparison to the U.S., is very connected to the world. And that is a sure-telling sign that requires us to rethink our business strategy differently.


image: the Economist

Correction: I wrote 14 earlier – actually it should have said “18.”

Green Marketers Nightmare: FTC Green ‘Updated’ Guidelines

Wow, this could have a ripple effect on the market. According to Environmental Leader, FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is on track to release an updated version of their “green guidelines,” which going to make 300 seal of approvals useless.

“Christopher Cole, an advertising-law specialist and partner with law firm Manatt Phelps & Phillips in Washington, told Advertising Age that the guides could make most of the more than 300 environmental seals of approval now in use on packaging and products largely useless and possibly in violation of FTC standards.

They could also influence efforts by retailers such as Walmart to institute a sustainability-rating system for products, he said.

The guides are expected to tighten standards for packaging claims such as “recyclable” or “biodegradable”; regulate how marketers use terms such as “carbon neutral,”  and how close to the source of carbon output “carbon offsets” must be executed, according to the article.

The guidelines may also define other terms such as “sustainability” or address  “greenwashing” controversies such as how far companies can market themselves as green in advertising when they or their products also have a negative impact on the environment.”

[via Enviromental Leader]

Read more details, here and here.


Yes, You Can.. Restore Fragile Ecosystems

This story is an example of triple bottom line: people, planet and profit. I stumbled into this TED talk by Willie Smits, who is a conservationist. Willie and his team were able to restore fragile ecosystems in Kalimantan (that’s what the Indonesians called it) or Borneo (as it known around the world). In fact, he has found a way to re-grow a clearcut rainforest, save local orangutans and create jobs for the local people. 

What they have done, is just fascinating. Transforming the community that was bare, no trees (because of deforestation) and no jobs into a sustainable community. People have jobs. Improve the climate where there’s no more flooding, no more fires and huge development of biodiversity. They’ve got over 1,000 species, 137 bird species, and 30 species of reptiles. 

This is one man’s idea that can be multiplied across the globe. Just watch video how he did it below.

How You Can Mine Market Data.. for Free

Gone were the days when government data is off-limits. Data can be very expensive. That’s why before some companies mine these data, packaged them and sell it for boatload of money to their customers. Nothing wrong with that, but if you are just starting up and you need to do market research, there are places where you can access data for – free. 

Depending on the type of market data you’re looking for, you can explore the world. What you want to do is you to narrow down the field specifics. And then drill down or expand from there.

I’m going to list of some websites, where you can mine data for free. Websites from the US government, International organizations, such as the World Bank, United Nations, OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), other countries government sites, state and local governments, trade associations, NGOs and more. Technically, you can pretty much get everything online – these days.


I heard in a seminar that NOAA (Natl. Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – part of Dept. of Commerce) opened up their data a while back. In essence, their data powered the Weather Channel and some other weather-related sites. HHS (Dept. of Human Health and Services) have a number of key sites where you can get data related to human health, for example, where you can find different health plans available to you down to the area where you live. Sometime in the summer of this year, they’re planning to release some 1,000+ health indicators that you can literally nail it down to pricing. The idea is to give consumer the access to information so they can decide what’s good for them and make the cos. compete for your business.


This uber site is where you can track opportunities, see where they money is going, etc. The site is linked to, where you can information about contracts;, where you can get info what type of grants available, and most important – if you are qualify;, to find the right loans from business loans, business industrial loans, agriculture, education, housing, veteran loans, etc.; and, with focused specifically targeted to small businesses. 


The Commerce Department has 12 bureaus including Census Bureau, Minority Business Development, NOAA, NTIA, NIST, USPTO (Patent).

Most business data is available through the Census Bureau. The census have a list of economic indicators, that you might have heard via the news. Let’s say you are in construction business, you want to know the trend. These are sample of the list of data available to you: housing vacancies and homeownership, new home sales, housing starts/ building permits. In addition to economic indicators, it also offers access to economic census that is released every 5 years, other economic programs that is primarily national. 

Digging in deeper, you’ll find market data by sector: economy wide, construction, governments, international trade, manufacturing, retail, services, wholesale, and other sectors (agriculture, mining and utilities). 

You might want to bookmark this site for business data you can use:

Determine which data you need, you then can look at data, i.e. the services sector and then get the industry snapshots that will show the size of market, and which market is growing within the industry.


Want to know which market is trending up? NAICS site is the place. There are 11 sectors that fall into the category within NAICS (North American Industry Classification System). If you’re thinking about starting up a business, this is the place where you want to spend a lot of time digging in market data. You can see statistics of U.S. businesses down to the number of companies, employees, payroll, revenue by employment-size. Half of the businesses in the U.S. is small business under 4 employees. However, the big companies – those over 500 employees – employs half of the U.S. workforce. Make sense now, why there are more incentives for the big businesses than small biz. It’s the headcount.

Continue reading “How You Can Mine Market Data.. for Free”

Business with a Purpose Business Models

I stumbled into Business Model Alchemist via Holy Kaw. If you’re into social entrepreneurship – looking into business models that has something to do with social and environmental impact, like I am – take a look at this presentation below for inspirations.

Global 10 Risks Facing Businesses

Ernst and Young recently released its Business Risk Report 2010 based on interviewed with a panel of more than 70 industry executives and analysts from 14 sectors.

If you look at the snapshot of the top 10 global risk across the 14 industries they cover below, you’ll see how a number of risk listed is associated with the sustainability factors of your business.

For example, in the business of green, there are regulations and compliance apply to business of any size. Literally, there are dozens of environmental regulations apply to small businesses, from environmental permits, air quality regulations, cleanup, ecosystem protection, fish and wildlife regulations, and more.

Eventhough, radical greening risk dropped from number 4 in 2009 to 8th in 2010, environmental regulation, consumer trends and strategic responses – remains a long term issue.

The snapshot below is what they called ‘risk radar.’ These are the drivers that might affect how you do business and at the same time, how it can help you position into the future. Compliance is associated with politics, law and regulations. Financial is the kind of risk associated with the economy and market ups and downs. Strategic is associated with customers, competitors and investors. Operational risk affects the processes, systems, people and those in the value chain.

Global 10 business risks:


– click on the image for larger view

The table below shows on the relative importance the top 10 business risks across the 14 sectors they studied.


For more details, you can download the ‘Business Risk Report 2010’ here.

images: EY