What We Do

We help our clients identify and focus on their key environmental, EHS, and sustainability issues, their root causes and contributing factors, and possible solutions. We determine what questions need to be answered, devise and implement strategies to address them, and develop and deliver the facts, analysis, and insights that enable our clients to make sound, though sometimes controversial, environmental/sustainability policy and management decisions with confidence. We also provide ongoing support through full sustainability program implementation, including needs assessment, development and delivery of training, facilitation, assessment, and reporting and external communication assistance.

Our clients receive a number of important and distinct benefits:

  • Insightful, actionable, and defensible facts and analysis
  • Greater understanding of technical issues and stakeholder interests and concerns
  • Improved clarity, personal ownership, and commitment among leaders and staff
  • Greater organizational effectiveness, efficiency, and impact
  • Improved relationships and credibility, and
  • Better morale and internal cohesion.

Sustainability is an aspiration—a journey that never ends—rather than a destination. We customize our services to meet the needs and priorities of each client, though most of our work shares one or more common elements, or stages in the journey:

Services Elements and Their Importance Examples

Benchmarking & Situation Assessment

Environmental Accounting & Financial Analysis

Technical & Market Analysis of Sustainable Technologies, Products & Services

Fact-Finding and Analysis (Determining Where You Are and the Outlook from There). No rational strategy or program can be developed in the absence of knowing, rather than assuming one knows, what organizational issues and activities are important and how they affect the long-term success of the enterprise. We determine which issues are truly important (and are not) to the sustainability of the client organization. With our deep understanding of environmental, related health and safety, financial, and business issues, we develop the relevant sustainability-related facts and present them to the client in a form that is clear and facilitates management decision making. This often involves asking probing questions, challenging pre-existing assumptions, and conducting new primary or literature research. We often formulate and deliver a quantitative and financially-oriented analysis or tool, and always do so in a transparent way, so that the client can both test the accuracy and soundness of our work and simulate the effects of alternative scenarios or courses of action.

Benefit-Cost of Increased Recycling
Analysis of Forest Certification Programs
Life Cycle Inventory Analysis of the Mail
Feasibility of On-Site Fueling

Strategic Planning for Sustainability

Business Development Strategy & Tactics Formulation

Policy Analysis and Options Development

Sustainability Policy and Strategy Development (Deciding Where You Want to Go and How You Will Get There). A coherent and comprehensive sustainability strategy is the road map that should guide any internal sustainability program or initiative. Without a good strategy, goal-setting and improvement programs are likely to be misdirected or, at best, not reach their full potential. We assist customer organizations in defining and developing new (or improving existing) sustainability strategies, while ensuring that they are based upon the client’s mission, vision, and business culture and an informed understanding of the interests of its stakeholders. In particular, we begin with the organization’s overall mission and business strategy, and craft the sustainability strategy to be an organic extension. We have found this approach to be far more effective than trying to divine or distill overall principles out of a bottom-up synthesis of the organization’s environmental issues, or other commonly used approaches. In addition, while it is fundamentally the client organization’s prerogative to decide what themes and elements comprise the sustainability strategy, we strongly encourage a formulation that emphasizes long-term financial value creation (or financial stability and predictability, in the case of public sector organizations) as the core precept around which environmental and social objectives are addressed. Greening Strategy for USPS
Cost-Effectiveness of GHG Reduction Strategies
Analysis and Critique of RIA
National Environmental Policy Framework Development
Financial Market Incentives for Environmental Management Systems
Paper Recycling Feasibility Analysis

Management System Design, Deployment & Training

Policy & Procedures formulation

Organizational Structure & Staffing Analysis

Organizational, Process, and Productivity Improvement and Systems Alignment (Building, or Tuning Up, the Engine). In our experience, environmental and other sustainability issues in any organization of substantial size are too numerous and complex to manage in isolation. What is required instead is a formalized, systematic approach: a management system. Formal environmental management systems (EMS) have come into widespread use during the past 15 years, and many organizations have experienced greater efficiencies, improved regulatory compliance and environmental performance, and reduced costs and liabilities as a result. Although the international standard (ISO 14001) defining the components of EMSs emphasizes their use as a business-driven, flexible, consensus-based solution, many EMSs have been deployed using a “compliance-plus” orientation, in which the EMS and its provisions simply impose a new layer of requirements. This is unfortunate, because EMS remains a crucial part of any sizeable organization’s efforts to understand and optimize its interactions with the environment. Our approach is to apply a deft touch, using the management system concepts as they were intended—to link together existing processes that work well, improve the ones that do not, fill the gaps as needed, and get everyone in the organization to accept an appropriate share of the responsibility for making the organization more sustainable. The end result is a system that makes less work, not more, for the environmental/EHS staff. More importantly, our approach enables the organization to both continually improve its environmental and social performance over time, and identify and capture opportunities to reduce costs and risks and maintain and enhance revenue streams, thereby driving long-term sustainability. Green Metrics that Matter
GSA/PBS Environmental Management System
EMS Benefit: Cost Framework
NASA Staffing Model

Facilitation

Introductory and Focused Training
- Standard
- Custom

Development of Guidance Manuals & Handbooks

Training and Facilitation (Preparing the Crew). Pursuing sustainability requires the blending of different disciplines (e.g., environmental management, human resources, finance), each of which has a distinct historical function within most organizations, as well as collaboration among staff members with vastly different academic training (and accompanying lexicon). On the job, members of these different disciplines often literally do not speak the same language, much less perceive or approach problems in the same way. We help to bridge this gap by providing focused training, facilitation, and team-building as needed to get everyone on the same page. Our long-standing involvement in the environmental field, knowledge of finance and investing, and executive experience provide a unique capability to translate sustainability terms, concepts, and perspectives into common language that all can understand and, through a collaborative process, reach agreement upon. Sustainability Planning Book
Public Meeting Facilitation
Training on Corporate Finance and Governance
MPA Environmental Handbook
NASA Environmental Manual
Facilitation of Integrated Management System

Metrics Evaluation & Improvement

Environmental, Energy, & Management Systems Auditing

Federal Program Assessment & Improvement (PART review)

Measurement and Evaluation (Checking the Mileposts and Making Course Corrections). Defining milestones and measuring progress toward their attainment is a necessary component of any rational strategy, including a drive toward organizational sustainability. We work with our clients to define performance metrics and timetables that reflect meaningful advances in sustainability, are challenging but realistic, and are appropriate to the organization’s principle business lines and scale. Where existing measurement processes are not sufficient to monitor progress, we help develop new procedures and facilitate their adoption by and integration into the organization. In parallel with this activity, we ensure that a robust and effective corrective action process is in place, catalyzing its development if one is absent in the organization. Only in this way can the organization’s leaders and stakeholders be assured that good intentions are acted upon, improvement initiatives are carried out effectively, and timely and appropriate course corrections are made when and where needed. We help to ensure that any sustainability-driven initiative does not join the existing (and growing) multitude of programs that begin with great fanfare and enthusiasm but often produce internal disillusionment and cynicism in the long term. OMB PART Analysis/Training
Energy Auditing at Superfund Sites
ISO Registration Auditing
Audit Program Enhancements
Sustainability Communications, Reporting & Outreach Reporting (Keeping the Owners of the Vehicle and Other Stakeholders Apprised of Progress). One clear lesson of the recent turmoil in global financial markets is the need for improved transparency. Even before the events of the recent past, momentum was building for greater disclosure of the material environmental, social, and governance (ESG) posture of companies (and industries), such that many firms and trade associations now publicly espouse disclosure of their ESG programs and performance. We believe that this is a healthy development. We work with our clients to determine what types, format(s), content, and timing of public performance reporting are appropriate for their particular situation. While this may sound simple, in practice it is anything but. Our approach parallels that of our strategy development services, in that it begins with an examination of organizational mission, objectives, and business strategy, but involves intense focus on stakeholder concerns. Stakeholders typically include owners (e.g., stock and bond holders), major customers/constituents, regulators, employees, suppliers, public interest groups, the general public, and in some cases, competitors. We survey or otherwise develop an understanding of the perspectives of each major stakeholder group, facilitate internal decision making regarding how best to address all major concerns and desires, and work to develop, organize, and present the relevant information in a way that is clear, informative, and appropriate to its intended audience. As a general matter, we encourage general conformance with widely accepted organizational sustainability reporting guidelines (e.g., the Global Reporting Initiative) in cases in which formal public reporting is indicated. Common Ground on ESG Metrics
Mailing Industry Sustainability Reporting Practices
Improving Science Communications
Stock Price Impacts of Environmental Improvements