The evolving science of managing for sustainability

For individuals, businesses, and public-sector organizations, managing energy, greenhouse gas emissions, and social responsibility have important implications. First, there is the moral and regulatory imperative to operate in an environmentally responsible manner. Second, dramatic cost savings can be gained by reducing resource consumption and waste. Finally, there is pressure from suppliers, customers, communities, and other stakeholders that place more and more importance on “green” practices. In their chapter “The Evolving Science of Managing for Sustainability: Using ICT to Optimize Environmental and Economic Outcomes,” Mikael Hagström, Jonathan Hornby, and Alyssa

Farrell (all at SAS) discuss the role of ICT in driving sustainability efforts—for measuring the impact of organizations’ activities, reducing negative effects, optimizing outcomes, and extending visibility deeper into an organization and across the greater value chain.They argue that a holistic perspective, providing a view of business processes in full context, is essential when it comes to managing sustainability.

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It is not just about measuring and reporting discrete environmental indicators—such as kilowatts of electricity and gallons of water—but about understanding how the metrics affect each other, uncovering cause-and-effect relationships that would not be immediately apparent, and predicting the environmental impact of business decisions. Existing analytic, performance management, and activity-based costing methodologies, which have already been proven effective in financial analysis and scenario modeling, can help substantially in dealing with greenhouse gases and other sustainability issues.

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The authors believe that by not succumbing to the temptation to simply calculate and instead leverage an enterprise-class business modeling tool, an organization can move beyond compliance and provide insight to drive increased environmental performance and bottomline value. Broadband and economic sustainability In recent years, broadband’s positive impact on economic development and social networks has become evident to leaders in both the public and private sectors.This essential technology facilitates pivotal socioeconomic elements: education, health, trade, and innovation across various industries. Broadband has transformed interaction among businesses, consumers, and governments.

Milind Singh (all at Booz & Company), argues that the creation of national broadband networks is crucial to sustainable economic development and social progress— and not only in emerging economies, but in developed ones as well. Despite the widespread recognition of its benefits, most of the world’s households today lack access to adequate broadband connections.

Legacy policies, regulations, and obsolete business models are limiting the ability of the public and private sectors to make the timely and adequate investment in necessary infrastructure to ensure universal access. In order to break this investment gridlock and pave the way for universal broadband access, both governments and private-sector operators need to make fundamental changes in their principles and business models.

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The authors believe broadband needs to move to the top of national strategic agendas. Policymakers ought to consider rebalancing their goal of advocating for consumer welfare with providing for an efficient industry structure that entices investment in national networks. Operators must adopt new business models to account for a transformative shift in the industry’s evolution.The authors make the case that timing is critical and that the faster a country moves to provide national broadband access, the swifter it can gain or improve its standing in the global economy. After exploring broadband’s impact on economic and social development and the potential risks looming on the sector’s sustainability, the chapter outlines a new approach, proposing a shift of paradigms for governments and private-sector operators.

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