Traditionally the goal of business is to maximize profit for shareholders, however, that narrow approach is slowly beginning to change. As Simon Sinek popularized, business is an infinite game, where the goal is to perpetuate the game. If the goal is to keep playing, then we need to take care of all players in the game, that is, take care of customers, climate, community, and employees, in addition to shareholders. The pandemic was a reminder of how fragile our society is. Climate change and social justice issues are similarly big risks that can no longer be ignored.
I actually began my career as an engineer in the oil industry. Surrounded by oil wells in West Texas, I witnessed firsthand how we power our society. I learned a great deal about the determination, entrepreneurship, and hard work of the traditional energy industry. However, the sight of enormous wind turbines built right next to abandoned oil wells inspired me to make a change. My active role in the sustainability revolution began with the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC). I helped industrial facilities and municipal utilities plan and develop energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Then, I was introduced to B Corps and learned about the social and governance side of sustainability. I decided to enroll in the MBA 582 Business in Sustainability course to learn more.
One key lesson I learned through the MBA 582 Business in Sustainability course is the importance of taking small steps and continuously improving. That is the key to sustainability. It allows everyone to jump in immediately. This begins by benchmarking your key sustainability metrics and setting goals for the upcoming years. From there, you focus on improving every year. I had the opportunity to observe this first-hand by assisting Green Sprouts to increase their B Impact Assessment score. We got to learn their operations and through long hours of conversations and planning, we were able to identify over 20+ ‘low-hanging fruit’ points, and many longer-term points on topics such as worker well-being, inclusive hiring practices (community), mission statement, anti-corruption and financial disclosure policies (governance), and energy efficiency measures at their own warehouse and throughout their supply chain.
My journey in sustainability consulting is just getting started. I would like to thank Jessica Thomas and the B Corp Clinic. I plan to continue volunteering as a resource for the B Corp Clinic. I am also excited about playing an important role in the ESG offerings being developed where I work full-time. EBI Consulting is an industry leader in energy efficiency and environmental offerings, and we have recently decided to expand our offerings on the social and governance side of sustainability. In addition, EBI Consulting decided to benchmark themselves through the B Impact Assessment. This is a direct result of sharing my B Corp experience with my colleagues. I’m excited to quickly put my lessons into real-life practice. If you are looking to get more involved and would like some advice feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written By: Oscar G. Llama