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Share Another Showcase of Why Sustainability Matters

On Monday evening, Boardwalk Capital Management teamed up with the Green Chamber of the South for the Fourth Annual Sustainability Interactive conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dozens of corporate, collegiate and governmental sustainability officers where present, sharing their most recent initiatives with well over 100 other attendees.  We were delighted to welcome sustainability experts from across the region.

All who were present were treated to stimulating presentations by two of the most accomplished professionals in sustainability:  Bill Strang, President of Operations for TOTO Americas and Jim Hartzfeld, presently consulting with the UN Global Compact and the former VP of Sustainable Strategy for Interface, Inc. 

Both presentations were video recorded and will be available on the Green Chamber website:  www.GreenCS.org

Boardwalk Capital Management founder Scott Sadler kicked off the event with a review of how far the industry has come in embracing sustainability reporting.  He highlighted how at the first Sustainability Interactive event in 2012, only 20% of S&P500 companies reported on sustainability. By 2015, the number was 81%.

Bill Strang then shared TOTO's sustainability integration strategy, noting how the company has evolved to "up-cycling" waste products -- from broken toilets to manufacturing waste, now sold to third parties who utilize these as inputs to their own products.

Bill also revealed a concept called the water/energy nexus. Each gallon of water used has an inherent energy cost embedded in its use.  By using less water, we use less energy.  This concept ultimately caused the US government to amend the Energy Star standards to include energy from water production, transport and treatment.

Jim Hartzfeld closed out the lecture portion of the event with a presentation on Integrating Sustainability across the Enterprise.  This gave attendees an early view of the new tools coming from the UN Global Compact.  Intergrating sustainability requires speaking to each of your stakeholders in their own "language" -- from legal to accounting to sales.  It's a challenge, but sustainabilty leaders are able to gain competitive advantage and drive innovation when they do so.

Boardwalk is appreciative of the many individuals and firms who contributed their talents to this event. Each year, it becomes more clear that sustainability is both a common business practice and one whose mastery is a true differentiator.

 

All photography courtesy of Virginie Drujon-Kippelen (@VirginieKPhotography)