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business sustainability

The elephant in the room is that while sustainability will continue to be relevant to the business operations of retailers and product manufactures, management has utterly failed to make sustainability a material or even a well understood concept for front-line employees, customers and most product brands, except during times of crisis.
In my work as a business management consultant, I find that addressing "environmental issues" is most often not a person's "day job." When starting out, many managers don't know where to turn for advice or are confounded by the information that is sometimes contradictory. Certainly, there is a lot of information out there, and some of it is misinformation -- from suppliers, to consultants, to so-called "environmental" organizations.
Using sustainability as strategy can drive change within a company's supply chain by engaging suppliers and service providers with the resulting savings running into the millions of dollars a year. A case in point: one of Canadian Tire's most popular products is a six-foot folding utility table, selling many tens-of-thousands a year. The company collaborated with its supplier on product redesign and packaging to use less raw materials to make and package the product.
During a poor economy, it can be a challenge for a business to increase profitability as competition for the "cautious consumer" intensifies and there is increasing pressure on margins. But a recession offers the perfect opportunity to question the way things have always been done -- and drive out waste and inefficiency. One of Jim's favourite slogans is: "a crisis is a terrible thing to waste."