Apr 29, 2012

Good Business Workshop Re-Cap: Beyond Spreadsheets

(by Rachel Chamberlain posted 4/29/12)

This event, labeled “Beyond Spreadsheets,” was organized by Sustainable Seattle and Bainbridge Graduate Institute as the beginning of a very promising event series based around sustainable business practices. Hosted at Bainbridge Graduate Institute’s Seattle location, 60 passionate members of the local business  community came together to discuss the nitty-gritty issue of sustainability data management at the first ever Tools for Tomorrow event. A local sustainability management software company, Scope 5,  was the featured sponsor for the event and received much praise from panelists. Their centralized, web-hosted system is making them a company to watch in the sustainable business community.

It cannot be easy, building a ten minute presentation on a technical subject that reaches a wide range of audience members, from consultants, CSR/sustainability professionals from local corporations and small business owners to students and non-profit volunteers (like me). However, the challenge was met with enthusiasm by the expert panelists: Jameson Morrell from CH2M HILL, Kelly Hoell from Good Company, Karl Ostrom from NBIS, and Derek Eisel from Expeditors International. Their varying perspectives and areas of expertise provided a complete guide from the very beginning of planning a sustainability initiative to integrating sustainability tracking software into an organization or business.

Some Key Insights

It turns out that one sustainability tool does not fit all, and in fact, paying more for sophisticated software can leave you more tangled than ever. Just as you would not compare the environmental and social impacts of Starbucks Corporation to Java Bean Coffee, you would not recommend the same sustainability tracking tool to both companies either.

Sustainability tracking should not be relegated to a single department. Thorough integration of sustainability initiatives and employee engagement will lead to better results. This means that initiatives need to start at the executive level and filter down through all departments.

Finally, and without giving away the whole workshop, a company must organize, prepare and engage the correct people and have a game plan before implementing a software solution. As Kelly Hoell put it, there is no (software) silver bullet!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent business composing begins with your end in thoughts. Determining what you want to achieve allows you concentrate on what you need to involve in the papers.

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