Updated: 9/11/06; 6:58:36 AM.
Gil Friend
Strategic Sustainability, and other worthy themes of our time

Thursday, March 24, 2005

[GreenBiz]: The change from one-dimensional financial reporting to three-dimensional 'triple bottom line' (TBL) reporting has created new challenges... [which] will require management accountants and other financial professionals to adapt and learn some new skills.
Here are a few questions you can ask that will enable you to foresee if better management of economic, environmental and social issues can make your organization more sustainable.
- How does information flow?
- How risky is our position?
- What is our source of competitive advantage?

Good questions. The article summarizes the conclusions of
Sustainability: The Role of Accountants, a report from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

OTOH, as Thomas Johnson observes in Relevance Lost: The Rise and Fall of Management Accounting, '
TODAY'S management accounting information, driven by the procedures and cycle of the organization's financial reporting system, is too late, too aggregated, and too distorted to be relevant for managers' planning and control decisions.'

Big challenges ahead.

10:03:06 PM    comment []  trackback []

Speaking of strategic choices in the face of peak oil...

[WorldChanging]: Decades behind developed nations when it comes to supporting a car culture, China may actually benefit from its very backwardness. All those bicycles mean there isn't a cumbersome - and entrenched - gasoline infrastructure to stand in the way of the next big thing. That's why China hopes to eventually bypass the oil-based auto culture and go right to a hydrogen economy.

9:37:16 PM    comment []  trackback []

[One more from WorldChanging]: In Herold's view, each of the world's seven largest publicly traded oil companies will begin seeing production declines within the next 48 months or so.... Add increased demand for petroleum from rapidly-developing China and India to the possibility of imminent limits on production and you have, to put it mildly, a sticky situation.

Given the significance of petroleum in the global economy, this is Big. This is also an enormous opportunity for countries, companies and communities to distinguish themselves by how they address the transition. Or not.

(Lots of 'favorite oil and energy information websites' in the comments section.)

9:30:23 PM    comment []  trackback []

[WorldChanging]: The insulation, along with high-efficiency windows and other energy-saving features, results in the buildings requiring only about one liter of oil per square meter for annual heating -- 5% of the average home requirement in Germany, and well below the nation's new efficiency mandate of 7 liters per square meter.

The mandate is 65% reduction -- no small thing. These folks are talking 95% reduction. Keep that in mind next time someone tells you "Can't be done."

9:11:09 PM    comment []  trackback []

[AltFunction]: I think a lot of communication around sustainable development and corporate responsibility suffers because we rely on the printed word too much and don't use good images and diagrams enough.

PatternThis Pattern Map does a good job of using the inherent non-linear and graphic potential of the web (it uses Flash, but not obtrusively) to present the triple bottom line approach to sustainable development in a creative way.

2:51:52 PM    comment []  trackback []

John Robb is not a proponent of terrorism and guerilla warfare, but he is an astute analyst of it. Neither the White House nor the anti-Iraq War folks are paying him enough attention, IMHO.

Here's what he said recently about potential vulnerabilities of our current energy systems:

[Global Guerillas]: A central theme of global guerrilla warfare is that the centralized systems we rely upon in modern nation-states are unable to withstand even a rudimentary low tech assault.  The environmental movement picked up on this vulnerability for their own purposes.  Their message:  clean energy is more secure energy.  This is accurate.  Clean energy requires decentralized production and is by its nature more secure....

Eco-terrorism isn't new.  It is, however, typically ineffective.  This report [Cascadia Scorecard] points to another potential scenario.  If eco-activists adopt global guerrilla tactics, they could coerce a rapid move to clean energy alternatives.  Small but extremely effective (high ROI) attacks on the energy corridors leading to target regions, would quickly increase the costs of conventional energy such that clean power alternatives would become extremely attractive.  This would be dictated by a direct economic comparison (costs) as well as indirect factors such as reliability of delivery.  This systems sabotage tax would induce a tipping point in energy market equilibria towards green alternatives if it is extended over a long period (longer than one season) and is of a sufficient level.  See the brief Urban Takedowns for more on how a terrorism tax can impact market equilibria.
11:37:38 AM    comment []  trackback []

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