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The New Metrics of Sustainable Business: Decoding the ROI of Sustainability

Demonstrating the business case for sustainability investments, or even proving to skeptical decision makers that there is one, remains one of the biggest challenges for forward-thinking corporate leaders, investors and other stakeholders. In order for them to obtain the C-level buy-in needed to take this agenda forward, they must be able to relate environmental and social initiatives directly to changes in their companies' bottom lines.

What methodologies and tools are available for measuring the true ROI of sustainability? How can companies derive financial gain from determining the most material environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues to their business? And how can companies broaden their approach from measuring the impact of individual projects – from increasing energy efficiency to reducing waste – to capturing the return on a broader sustainability agenda?

Join us on Thursday morning, September 27, as we explore the answers to these questions and others in "New Horizons in Measuring the ROI of Sustainability." Moderated by Gil Friend, President and CEO of Natural Logic, this panel will discuss breakthrough research, analysis and modeling approaches that are proving useful in establishing a positive return on a range of sustainability efforts. The discussion will examine relevant ROIs at various levels of interest - from high-level, holistic agendas to specific initiatives, such as the identification of material ESG issues or successful employee engagement. Our panelists will also share helpful data sources and valuation techniques that could be used in the process.


Eric Hespenheide, Global Leader of Climate Change and Sustainability at Deloitte, brings significant experience in researching the long-term value proposition of a holistic sustainability agenda and will share key lessons learned along the way.

Michael Barry*, Sustainability Manager for Bloomberg, will share results of Bloomberg's financial analysis of corporate leaders in identifying materiality and incorporating it in sustainability reporting. In addition, Mr. Barry will explain how Bloomberg's ESG data, available through the company's service terminal, has been used by a variety of brands in demonstrating a positive ROI of sustainability.

Christopher Behr is Principal Economist at HDR, an engineering consulting firm that has developed a methodology for calculating triple-bottom line ROI, also known as Sustainable Return on Investment (SROI). He will take us through the mechanics of this innovative methodology, which considers not only the traditional financial measure of return, but also environmental and social costs and benefits expressed in dollar terms, thus rendering a truly complete sustainability valuation. 

For more on this timely and pertinent topic, join us also for the session immediately following, where we will examine two case studies on the measurement of the ROI of sustainability. For information on the New Metrics of Sustainable Business Conference, visit the Program page.

*Speaker update: Michael Barry has replaced Curtis Ravenel (pictured top right) on this panel.

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