We offer sustainability consulting that is unlike any other advisory firm because we recommend avoiding “sustainability”. At first, this seems like quite a paradox. But in our experience, most consultancies approach sustainability from a perspective that is weak in business terms. Many leverage the ambiguity of sustainability to push soft numbers, intangibles, long ROI horizons and metrics that are meaningless. These are difficult for internal sustainability managers to defend in front of senior management when seeking support and investment. They also indicate that the advisor knows more about buzzwords than the reality of sustainability.
Elm has a much different approach to assisting clients with sustainability program scoping, implementation and measurement. For us, the bottom line is the bottom line. What other advisors seem to not realize is that programs/initiatives that are not financially sustainable are not sustainable. Companies that fail financially are unable to continue any sustainability progress or achievements and are likely to be held up as an example of why sustainability pulls against business goals.
Companies that come to us have passed through the window-dressing phase and the focus on reporting phase. They have experienced the frustration of weak management support that comes from weak valuation approaches. Elm clients seek our guidance in moving their program from being internally irrelevant to a serious competitor for internal funding. Others may already have strong programs but want another set of eyes that they know understand the business fundamentals required.
For more reading on our philosophy, take a minute to read this article.