Sustainability and the Cosmic Soup

Measuring Profitability

In an ideal world that took serious action about sustainability and environmental preservation, orthodox measures of viability and profitability are measured in terms of ‘Envirodollars’ – traditional dollars multiplied by a sustainability factor. That would be a true measure of a company’s past performance and potential future earnings, of value creation for the economy and the natural world that it operates in. This isn’t about how much the company has donated to a charitable organization involved in sustainability – it is a measure of the company’s direct performance in financial and environmental terms. However, in the short to medium term the paradigm is unlikely to change and dollar-cent bottom line measures are what make or break companies and entire economies5. There is even sufficient doubt in the business and academic community about whether or not climate change is man-made, giving the public enough reason to remain skeptical about whether any change is necessary and polluters enough grounds to continue tongue-in-cheek. What we can do however is learn through educating our employees and families is that environmental consciousness has the multiple benefits of improving efficiency, reducing costs and ensuring long-term viability of the organizations. Post the latest economic recession and with ICT enablement, the next opportunity for companies will be those that develop distinct competencies in harnessing renewable energy4 and utilizing natural resources, and reflect performance in a truly triple bottom line (people, planet, and profit).