Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Finding the right sustainability tool for you

I continue to be amazed by the rate at which the professional sustainability field is becoming more sophisticated and standardized. This is largely invisible to the general public but is a big deal especially for large corporations.

The downside of this work is a proliferation of tools to help you.

The Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan has just made it a lot easier to find the right tool. SHIFT TOOLS is focused on business but many of those practices also apply to municipalities; and they are working on having similar resources for cities/communities.

You can search for tools that help you:

  • Set targets and goals (see who's measuring what and what their targets are)
  • Develop a road map and see where your organization is in its maturity
  • Report on your performance
  • Develop a business case/find the return on investment for certain actions.

Check it out. You can search for tools by industry, issue (water, climate, etc.), free or fee, reviewer's stars, job function, etc.


I just sat in on a webinar by Saman Baghestani, one of the developers, and he highlighted some specific tools he liked. So if you want a short list, look at some of these:

  • Pivot Goals shows what different companies are tracking and reporting, what their goals are
  • Embedding Project lets you create your own "casebook" of goals related to 12 thresholds
  • Future Fit lays out how to create long-term business value
  • Project Breakthrough has pitch decks that help you make the business case
  • Science Based Targets Initiative help you set climate related targets based on good science
  • Global Opportunity Explorer shows solutions and markets tied to the Sustainable Development Goals

  • B-Corp (certification)
  • CDP (climate, water)
  • RILA (retail)
  • Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability
  • Sustainability Scorecard

  • Reporting Exchange (part of the World Business Council on Sustainable Development)

  • Business Case for Sustainability (by International Finance Corp)
  • Business Case Calculator (downloadable spreadsheets to calculate payback, internal rate of return, etc.)

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