For the past year or so, a small team in which I’ve taken part has been developing a prototype rating system for “sustainable business.” The Sustainable Business Rating System, or SBRS -- spearheaded by the Alameda County Waste Management Authority -- aims to do for companies what the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system does for buildings -- that is, create a consensus-built standard that can be applied to a wide range of company types.
SBRS, still early-stage, will be a core topic at a U.N. World Environment Day event titled “The Sustainable Business Phenomenon: Leading Initiatives in Redefining Business,” to be held at 2:00 pm on June 2, at The Metreon, 101 Fourth Street in San Francisco.
Speakers at the event include Rory Bakke of the Alameda County Waste Management Authority/StopWaste.org, the event's sponsor; Gil Friend, founder and CEO of Natural Logic; and yours truly. The session will be moderated by Alison Wise, Executive Director of Sea Change.
We'd be delighted if you can join us. To reserve a space, e-mail Alison Wise or call 510-708-2398.
The invitation follows:
A few more words about SBRS, excerpted from a draft overview document:
The core mission of the Sustainable Business Rating System (SBRS) is to provide a unified, market-based, broadly applicable, and transparent approach to assessing a company’s environmental and social practices and performance, and to fuel market demand for leadership companies. The system will enable the comparison of companies consistently regardless of their size, sector, or geography. The SBRS will serve as both a tool for companies to help them understand and improve their sustainability performance, as well as a rating system that will enable interested parties to assess the full measure of a company’s sustainability performance: their operations, products and services, and relationships with a range of stakeholders.
SBRS is modeled after the highly successful LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system introduced by the U.S. Green Building Council, which has become a global standard for rating buildings’ environmental impacts. It also has been credited with accelerating market growth for green buildings and has encouraged product manufacturers, architects, developers, and city planners to engage in more sustainable practices with a full understanding of how their projects measure up to widely accepted standards.
In a similar vein, SBRS’s mission is to help grow markets for sustainable business practices by creating a widely accepted standard for what constitutes a “sustainable business.” Like LEED did for green buildings, SBRS will create a level playing field -- a unified calculus for companies that will help them -- and their customers, investors, regulators, suppliers, and others -- answer the challenging question: “How good is ‘good enough’?”