From the founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute and co -author of Natural Capitalism, the seminal work on acknowledging the role of Eco-sytem Services in both business and government sustainability discourse, L. Hunter Lovins writes in GreenBiz.com
[Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of excerpts from “Climate Capitalism: Capitalism in the Age of Climate Change,” by L. Hunter Lovins and Boyd Cohen, just published by Hill and Wang.]
The CEOs of the companies implementing greater sustainability in their business practices may not recognize it, but they are following the principles set forth a decade ago in this book’s predecessor, Natural Capitalism. These principles have proved to be some of the best guides a company can use as it embraces sustainability in its own operations. They also represent a roadmap to a sustainable economy.
The first principle, buying time by using all resources as efficiently as possible, is cost-effective today and is the best way to address many of the worst problems facing humankind while delivering premium returns on investments. There are many smart companies implementing this principle, from measuring and managing their carbon footprints with the Carbon Disclosure Project, to Mi Rancho Tortilla’s saving $175,000 a year by implementing efficiency measures because it knows it has to do so to meet Walmart’s Sustainability Scorecard. It and the other small businesses participating in Natural Capitalism Solutions’ “Solutions at the Speed of Business” program are enjoying returns on investment ranging from 100 percent to more than 600 percent.