Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Interview on Sustainability in the Retail Sector

I was recently interviewed by Steve Rowen, Senior Analyst at Retail Systems Research (RSR), regarding sustainability drivers, trends, strategies, & technologies in retail. RSR is a market research firm who focus solely on business challenges and technology strategies for the retail sector.

Key topics covered: market drivers in the sector today, such as customer demand, private label growth, and green branding; strategies for this sector, including gaining visibility on an enterprise’s carbon footprint, developing & leveraging new data sources and integrating for reporting & optimization; and future trends (such as leveraging life cycle assessments for green product design).The link for the article is here. Read more!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Joined CH2M HILL to develop a sustainability technology solutions practice

Just joined CH2M HILL's Enterprise Management Solutions division to grow a sustainability technology practice; check out for more info Read more!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Listed in the "Top 50 Environmental Engineering Blogs"

AEC and Cleantech Trends blog was recently listed in the Top 50 Environmental Engineering Blogs « Online Engineering Degree Read more!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Article published on

"Do Global Clients need a Sustainability Strategy Today?" was published on; link is here. Read more!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

What Sustainability Strategy Solutions do Global Clients want today?

(Note: this is the first post in a series of articles on developing, validating, and implementing a sustainability growth strategy for current (and future) market conditions. Overview blog post is here. The target audience is CXOs in technology companies and global Engineering Procurement & Construction (EPC) firms who are chartered to lead efforts to grow new revenue streams in this general market sector; as well as those executives in global enterprises who are considering implementation of such strategies.)

In the fall of last year, I wrote about the need for sustainability programs in the industrial sector, given the current economic climate (link). Since that time, we have seen market conditions deteriorate, but conversely, have also seen companies (both services and technology) who are starting to hire again to provide sustainability solutions to their clients. The purpose of this column is to provide some guidance on the state of the sustainability strategy market need; particularly in regard to enterprise systems. Notes from leaders from both the ‘sell’ and ‘buy’ sides of the equation provide additional data points on current trends.

Perspective from Sustainability / Environmental Executives

Many corporations have been focusing on very tactical and survival -based activities, such as cost control and risk / exposure management. The awareness for sustainability solution need (strategy, projects, implementation, reporting) is still relatively high, based on discussions I have had with executives in the energy development and discrete manufacturing industries; but that need is tempered by reduced internal budgets (and available staff), along with more immediate operating concerns (such as equipment maintenance, process safety, compliance, etc).

When sustainability programs compete against operations for resources and internal ‘mindshare’, one can get the ‘rubber band effect’, as an energy development executive referred to it: “the sustainability team gets ahead of itself on programs, and then gets yanked back”. A key issue: what sustainability metrics should be developed and adopted initially?

Another exec from the discrete manufacturing industry offers advice to solution providers: “don’t try to sell the ‘hearts and minds’ programs at this time: aim for the basic needs in environmental programs, such as self auditing programs, and look for opportunities to add value over time”.

And while corporate environmental, health & safety (EHS) departments still provide overall policy development and guidance, many sustainability initiatives (and leadership thereof) are being developed within business groups in the organization. “Initiatives for sustainability are being implemented in engineering departments, who may serve as ‘internal consultants’ to EHS and corporate sustainability staff”, an upstream energy development exec told me. “Sustainability leadership is moving from EHS departments to staff running business processes, such as supply chain management”.

So, from a management systems perspective, such as that for enterprise level risk or carbon management, it may be difficult to develop & sell a ‘top down’ solution. Initiative – specific strategies may be an easier sell.

Perspectives from the Engineering Industry

As I wrote last year, the global engineering procurement & construction (EPC) segment is positioned to provide a range of strategy and implementation services within key sustainability and cleantech segments (article link is here). How has this industry been impacted by current conditions? Talking to a number of executives, the common themes are as follows:

  • What was once significant, backlog has been slowly been tapped and is diminishing, especially in the industrial sector and in international markets (which had been strong up to this point)
  • Similarly, the increase in signed projects has slowed, as client projects have been delayed
  • But, new markets are emerging (i.e. projects associated with the federal / state recovery act funds, energy mgt programs, and GHG inventory development); albeit slowly

Short Term Solutions of Interest

Notwithstanding the opportunities currently to provide energy efficiency & management solutions and GHG inventory / assessments, what are some of the focused sustainability solutions that appeal to executive level buyers today? Based on conversations above, the likely candidates include:

  • Initiative Strategy Review (where a client is already performing energy management, GHG inventory assessment, Green IT programs etc; can you help them adapt their strategy to maximize value with current operating constraints?)
  • Sustainability Diagnostic Review (evaluate current sustainability programs with focus on current economic conditions. Also, bring in any benchmarking information to competitors or across industries)
  • Regulatory Landscape Review (given the myriad of state, federal, and NGO guidelines and proposed regulations, provide client – specific regulatory impact scenarios)
  • Emerging Technology Review (appealing to CTO / CIO execs on advances in both IT based technology and ‘cleantech’ hardware)
  • Executive Coaching (assisting influencers and other internal staff in evangelizing, educating, and selling sustainability solutions / strategy to internal decision makers)


Following the current market trends and anecdotes provided above, what are some of the key concepts to consider when developing and promoting sustainability solutions today?

  • Pick ‘tactical’ sustainability projects (which may be an oxymoron…) such as strategies for maximizing the efficiencies of existing systems, buildings, and assets.
  • You should articulate an accelerated ROI for your clients, but provide a 'platform' (technology based or process based) to allow your client to leverage incremental successes over time across his / her enterprise
  • Assessment and benchmarking: executives place a high value on validation of industry trends and insights

Again, initiatives in sustainability ‘sectors’ such as Green IT, energy efficiency, and GHG inventory assessment are areas where solution providers may (and are) provide value to their clients. The purpose here is to find opportunities to assist clients in developing and implementing their sustainability strategies, in context with ongoing operating concerns.

The next article in this series will focus on technology – based sustainability solutions.

Read more!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Is there $$ to be made in Sustainability today?

For the past few months, I have been developing a market strategy for both technology and professional services firms to understand, validate, and implement growth initiatives that reflect current (and future) market conditions. (The origins of this strategy are provided in an online presentation I gave to the American Council of Engineering Companies - ACEC, link is here).

Significant input was received from executives at global energy development corporations and in the federal government who are considering implementation of these solutions, as well as from executives in technology firms and global engineering & design firms who may provide a range of technology - based solutions, from sustainability strategy through implementation of process improvements and emerging technologies (or cleantech).

Given the depth and range of content developed, I will be publishing a series of blog posts (and articles on leading online periodicals) covering key concepts and strategies. An overview of upcoming topics is provided below:

  • What do global clients want now (and what will they pay for)?
  • Benchmarking: What are other Tech & Services firms doing?
  • The Critical Market Drivers of Concern
  • Sustainability Technology Solutions: Focus on Specific Market Needs
  • Developing & Selling a Sustainability Solution for both short term ROI and long term strategy

I may combine topics as articles / blog posts are published; would welcome comments or articulated interests in specific concepts.

Read more!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Bentley Software's "The Year in Infrastructure"

Bentley Software published their "Year in Infrastructure" book last month, which provides an overview of product / solution strategy, as well as highlighting winners of the BE Awards. As mentioned in previous posts, I was invited to judge two BE categories for technology excellence: "Sustainability" and "Sustaining the Environment". This book details those winners, as well as in other categories such as bridges, water, buildings, and transportation.

The 'e-book' version can be found via this link: Read more!