We’ve come a long way from just a couple of decades ago when “going green” was a choice companies or individuals made in spite of the cost involved. If you define sustainability as economic prosperity, environmental resilience and social justice — or, more simply, the future we want — businesses and organizations in Arizona are leading the way.
Today, as businesses operating at any level in the global economy may face sustainability reporting requirements, retailers use sophisticated assessments to rank the relative sustainability of products they stock on their shelves. At the same time, investors, clients, customers and employees expect companies to be able to generate profit and drive the transition to a sustainable future. And we can never underestimate the importance of strong leadership from those who understand and are dedicated to their organization’s sustainability mission.
At ASU we use our “small town” of 90,000 students, faculty and staff to demonstrate how to drive toward carbon neutrality and zero waste. The Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives works with businesses globally and locally to solve their sustainability challenges and promote best practice. Our Sustainability Solutions Services provide a vehicle to tap into the vast knowledge of ASU faculty and engage students to design, optimize and evaluate sustainability-related products, services or economic development clusters. We have working relationships with many of the companies featured in this issue and are committed to going further faster. And we are excited to be partnered with The Sustainability Consortium and GreenBiz Forum to produce the inaugural Sustainability Solution Festival, February 17-22, 2014, when Joel Makower will be releasing the State of Green Business report.
The adoption and application of sustainability practices are being integrated across businesses just as they are here at ASU. For his cover story, “What Happened to Going Green? Are companies saving and is the industry booming?” Joe Bardin met with businesses in the green sector and others that have adopted sustainability in their company culture to learn how the “business of sustainability” impacts the bottom line — whether that bottom line means global environmental effect or company profits.
This issue’s “Finance” article takes on the often distastefully regarded subject of bankruptcy. However, as attorney Kami Hoskins explains, bankruptcy offers a prime opportunity for a business to restructure and can be a tool to help grow future success. Another article provides information on online tactics a business can follow for traffic building or search engine marketing; this is the final installment of Thomas Beyer’s three-part “Business Education” series on Internet marketing. The “Roundtable” feature explores compliance issues and best practices for leadership to deal with issues of possible wrongdoing within a company. Also in this December issue is a special section spotlighting the Valley’s top luxury residential real estate agents and their high-end properties.
I am always excited to see and share how sustainability permeates through so many areas of practice. I hope you enjoy this December issue of In Business Magazine and its timely, informative and broad range of topics important to those vested in business in our community.
Director, Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives
Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University
Patricia Reiter’s work is currently focused on impact investing, social enterprise models and performance measurement for mission-driven enterprises. She directs the eight-program Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, established with a $27.5 million investment by Rob and Melani Walton through the Walton Family Foundation in order to advance sustainability practice by educating future leaders, delivering solution sets and establishing global programs. Among its achievements in its first year of operation, the Initiatives programs engaged 300 faculty and 340 students and brought in revenue of $400,000, opened global sustainability solutions centers in the Netherlands and Hong Kong, and developed a new executive master’s program.