DR. Bob Willard, December 7, 2006.

Turning Green into Gold: The Business Advantage of Becoming Sustainable

“The benefits are there for the taking. Smart executives will take them before their competitors do. Companies that lag will be history, trapped in the hoax of perpetual, unsustainable growth. Companies that lead will win.”

– Bob Willard, leading expert on the business value of corporate sustainability strategies and author of ‘The Sustainability Advantage: Seven Business Case Benefits of a Triple Bottom Line’ and ‘The Next Sustainability Wave’.

The Karlskrona Dialogues, the public outreach programme of the Master’s of Strategic Leadership Towards Sustainability programme at Blekinge Institute of Technology, was pleased to host the visit of Dr. Bob Willard on December 7, 2006. Dr Willard spoke about the business case for sustainability – ‘turning green into gold’ – and provided ample evidence that taking sustainability seriously provides a competitive advantage.

Drawing on his 34 years of experience at IBM, Dr Willard kept the audience’s attention with witty anecdotes and thoughtful explanation of his research to document the cost savings organisations can make as they become more sustainable. In the process he has completely debunked the myth that sustainability must cost an organization money.

He demonstrated the importance of using ‘business language’ when engaging the business community on sustainability and spoke of a sustainability continuum most organizations follow as they move beyond compliance to integrated approaches to sustainability.

Dr Willard highlighted unsustainability mega trends (e.g. climate change, pollution, energy and water shortages) and a chorus of new voices paying heed to them (e.g. insurance companies and institutional investors) as drivers for businesses to take action or face oblivion. His explanation of the ‘corporate value iceberg’ showed how more than ever organizations are dependent on intangibles such as stakeholder perceptions of the organization, and the need to turn these ‘submerged’ risks into tangible opportunities above the water line through the ‘sustainability advantage’.

Masters students from the Strategic Leadership Towards Sustainability programme were privileged to engage in two days of inspiring discussion with Dr Willard during his visit to Karlskrona, and the class made good use of his expertise on the subjects of building the sustainability business case, leadership and change management.

For more information about other events in the series visit: www.bth.se/dialog

Click here for event flyer.


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