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Archive for the ‘consulting’ Category

VIEWS: SSC Thoughts on Virtual Interns

Posted by Jennifer Woofter on January 16, 2009

This week, SSC President Jennifer Woofter was interviewed by The Examiner on what makes a successful virtual intern. If you are thinking about applying for one of these positions (especially with us!), we hope you’ll take the time to review the article, which focuses on the do’s and don’ts of virtual internships:

“When we interview for virtual internship positions, we are really looking for two things. First, interns need to be self-starters. Because they won’t be in our office each day, I need to know that they will be diligent with deadlines, make good use of their time and come back to me if they have the ability to take on additional projects,” said Woofter. “Second, we’re looking for good communicators—we rely on Web conferences, e-mails and phone calls to manage the internship process, and it’s important that interns be able to clearly tell me what’s working and where they need more help and guidance.”

Read the entire article here.

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Posted in consulting, employees, views, workplace | Leave a Comment »

VIEWS: Sustainability Consulting: One Size Does NOT Fit All

Posted by Jennifer Woofter on June 14, 2008

To remain competitive in an increasingly global marketplace, companies of all shapes and sizes and from different industries and sectors are introducing sustainability programs to gain a competitive advantage. Companies are expected to react to these changing dynamics and to address the changing consumer preferences for environmentally and socially sustainable products and services. The ideas of corporate social responsibility and sustainability are no longer fringe issues or passing trends, but are topping the list of strategic issues of executive management at Fortune 500 companies. Most multinational firms have incorporated some sort of sustainability initiative within operations, such as ethical sourcing, measuring and reducing carbon usage and recycling initiatives.

However, small- and medium-size companies are in a unique situation when it comes to sustainability. These firms don’t necessarily have the time, money or other resources to lead a full-blown, comprehensive sustainability program. Because of these differences, it is important to realize that sustainability consulting cannot be a “one size fits all” approach. What works for a Fortune 100 company most likely will not be a good fit for a small business. This is why it’s so important to hire consultants that really understand the process of developing and implementing sustainability programs, the resources available and constraints to expect, as well as the stakeholder “buy-in” necessary to execute a successful sustainability strategy for a small- or medium-size company. With these pieces in place, professional sustainability consultants can successfully navigate companies through the sustainability arena.


Sustainability consultants must remain flexible and adaptable, and should be competent in assessing the feasibility of programs and identify long-term opportunities and constraints. Consultants should recognize that a company typically cannot make one isolated change without addressing the impact of that change on other issues in the business. This “results-oriented” thinking ignores the complexity of execution and implementation of programs and does not provide opportunities for the necessary reflection and evaluation of the sustainability initiatives.

One of the key factors contributing to success of a sustainability plan is the level of collaboration and engagement among employees and other stakeholders during the planning process. This balance of top-down and bottom-up planning increases the likelihood of the plan gaining support and advocacy from stakeholders during the implementation phase. Finally, consultants should work with companies to plan long-term sustainability programs that are tied into business objectives, which will deliver a more integrated approach to sustainability. This is critical, as most “knee-jerk” programs that are not well-thought out, planned or executed have not proven to be very successful or sustainable.
If you are a small business that is interested in hiring a sustainability consultant, contact us for a free consultation. We can help you think through the best way to approach “going green” with special attention to your small business realities. Call (202-470-3248) or email us (info@sustainabilityconsulting.com) today!

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NEWS: Strategic Sustainability Consulting Launches Online Marketplace

Posted by Jennifer Woofter on April 10, 2008

“This is another way SSC is reaching out to small businesses and providing simple, practical tools for creating sustainable operations,” says SSC President Jennifer Woofter

Strategic Sustainability Consulting (SSC) is excited to announce the launch of the Sustainability Consulting Marketplace, an online bookstore where small businesses and individuals can purchase and download helpful tools with tips on sustainability and green living. Customers can choose from an extensive list of publications, such as SSC’s Sustainability 101series, and immediately download them right to their desktop.

Each Sustainability 101 series is comprised of three sections that form a comprehensive resource for businesses as they work toward greening their operations, from initially asking the right questions to harnessing the entire organization’s or community’s skills and enthusiasm. Customers can purchase and download Sustainability 101 for Healthcare Facilities and Sustainability 101 for Churches, as well as a host of other useful publications with tips and advice for “going green.”

“We specialize in helping small and medium size organizations implement sustainability solutions usually reserved for larger companies,” says SSC’s President, Jennifer Woofter. “The Marketplace is another way we can reach these companies and provide resources and services to help them become more sustainable.”

Visit the Marketplace by going to www.sustainabilityconsulting.com and clicking on “Visit Our Store.” Check out other publications such as:

  • Ten Simple Ways to Cut Energy Costs
  • Guide to Buying Eco-friendly Paper
  • Sustainable Food Production
  • Green IT
  • Making Cents Out of Sustainability
  • Green Meetings and Events

    Orders of more than 10 publications may qualify for a discount. Contact SSC at info@sustainabilityconsulting.com for more information.

  • Posted in consulting, news, special offers | Leave a Comment »

    NEWS: Strategic Sustainability Consulting Ranked Top 10 in 2007 CR Reporting Awards

    Posted by Jennifer Woofter on April 4, 2008

    Strategic Sustainability Consulting (SSC) is pleased to announce that it received “Top Ten” rankings for two different categories in the 2007 Corporate Responsibility (CR) Reporting Awards. The CR Reporting Awards, presented by CorporateRegister.com, is the very first global, independent, online awards for CR reporting.

    SSC ranked ninth in the category of “Best First Time Report,” against 31 other entrants. In the category of “Best SME Report,” SSC ranked fourth among 13 entrants. CorporateRegister.com defines SME as a micro, small or medium-size enterprise with fewer than 250 employees.

    SSC works with organizations around the world to evaluate the environmental and social impact of their operations, then develops a sustainability action plan with practical steps for clients to take to “green” their footprint. An essential component of those recommendations is a communications strategy for sustainability topics. Strategic Sustainability Consulting hopes its sustainability reports will serve as an example to other small businesses, showing them that sustainability reporting isn’t just for big companies-but can be beneficial for all organizations.

    “We tell our clients that transparency is the single most important factor in being a responsible organization” said SSC’s President, Jennifer Woofter. “Sustainability is on everyone’s mind these days, and businesses need to be able to communicate how they are dealing with issues ranging from carbon emissions and climate change to human rights in their supply chain. And that’s true for us as well. We’re honored and delighted to have received this recognition.”

    The 2007 CR Reporting Awards included nine categories: Best Report, Best First Time Report, Best SME Report, Best Integrated report, Best Carbon Disclosure, Creativity in Communications, Relevance and Materiality, Openness and Honesty and Credibility in Assurance.

    CorporateRegister.com has an established online community of over 20,000 readers of the reports who have a proven interest in, and experience of, CR reporting. These users serve as judges and consider five essential element of each report – Content, Communication, Credibility, Commitment and Comparability. More than 20 industries were represented and 300 reports were entered into the Awards.

    Download the 2006 report here: http://www.sustainabilityconsulting.com/pdfs/2006_sustainability_report.pdf

    Information about SSC’s current sustainability initiatives can be found here: http://www.sustainabilityconsulting.com/pdfs/2007_sustainability_report.pdf

    Posted in consulting, news, sustainability reporting | Leave a Comment »

    NEWS: SSC Featured in the Washington Post

    Posted by Jennifer Woofter on November 26, 2007

    Exciting things are in the air here at Strategic Sustainability Consulting. Not only are we working with exciting clients, traveling to exotic locations (I’m typing this to you from Anchorage, Alaska), and developing new services for the coming year, we’re also getting noticed!

    Today SSC was featured in a special “green business” section in the Washington Post (the 6th largest paper in the US). I was interviewed for more than an hour, and got to share my excitement about opportunities for companies to improve their environmental footprint in a way that adds to their profitability and their employee satisfaction. You can read the whole article here:

    Sustainability Consultant Takes Her Expertise to Market
    by Anita Huslin, Washington Post Staff Writer
    Monday, November 26, 2007; D05

    Aside from being thrilled to share this news with you, I also want to take a minute to reflect on the larger picture. It is now clear that ‘going green’ is a trend that is here to stay. If you’ve been a silent onlooker, now is the time to get involved.

    I encourage you to take action today to make the world a greener place. If you want to make your company more eco-friendly, contact us today about starting an SSC Green Office Audit or getting a Carbon Footprint Analysis. If you are thinking about becoming a sustainability consultant, sign up for our Sustainability Consulting 101 webinar (offered next on December 12).

    As I note in the article, “You can be dragged kicking and screaming, or you can take the lead.” I hope you choose the latter.

    Posted in consulting, news | Leave a Comment »

    PEOPLE: The SSC Fall Interns

    Posted by Jennifer Woofter on September 20, 2007

    We’d like to take a minute to welcome our new fall interns. They are an intrepid bunch with a wide-ranging skill set, and we’re looking forward to tapping into their knowledge!

    Bing Han

    Bing Han has recently obtained her Honors Business Administration degree from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. She has been involved with many not-for-profit organizations through work and extracurricular activities. Although she has always aspired to live a sustainable lifestyle, it was a recent backpacking trip to Europe that inspired her to pursue a career in sustainability. She is also a self-acclaimed movie and concert buff.

    Davida Steinberg

    Davida Steinberg is a recent MBA grad from Emory University in Atlanta, where she concentrated her studies on Sustainable Business Strategy. Davida’s experience includes consulting for local government and national nonprofit clients on sustainability-related issues and managing projects at Benevolink, an Atlanta-based company facilitating corporate philanthropy through consumer-directed giving to nonprofit organizations. During her undergraduate time at Mount Holyoke College, Davida spent a year studying in Egypt. When not knitting or traveling, Davida continues to be an active leader through her volunteer positions with DC’s professional NetIMPACT chapter and the DC Jewish Community Center.

    Heather Shand

    Living in and loving Portland, Maine, Heather Shand has spent a number of years working in the marketing and advertising world. A couple of years ago she changed direction and became a freelancer working in the production realm of photo shoots and local television commercials. Ready once again to learn something new, she is following her desire to make a difference in the way we live and work by gaining professional experience in the sustainability industry. She is also an outdoor enthusiast, loving time spent on a bike, on a hike or skiing in the winter.

    John Nangle

    John Nangle is currently a Masters student at George Washington’s school of International Affairs in Washington DC. Before that John spent three years in Panama as a Peace Corps volunteer, working with rural communities to improve water sanitation and promote conservation of local resources. His interest in sustainability and environmental awareness are what lead to John pursuing a career in sustainable consulting. He also enjoys sports and traveling.

    Posted in consulting, people | Leave a Comment »

    EVENT: Webinar – Sustainability Consulting 101

    Posted by Jennifer Woofter on January 14, 2007

    Are you interested in using your skills to make the world a better place? Are you passionate about the environment, social justice, and accountability—but not currently in a job where those values are promoted? Whether you’re a recent graduate in search of that first job, or an experienced professional looking to switch careers, the growing world of sustainability consulting has something to offer. But it can also be a confusing, ultra-competitive industry, and nearly impossible to break into without prior experience.

    That’s why we’re pleased to offer Sustainability Consulting 101, an interactive webinar about the “ins and outs” of—what else?—sustainability consulting. You’ll learn:

    – General trends in sustainability consulting, including the differences between sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and corporate citizenship consultancies.

    – The philosophical and practical differences between 1) huge consulting firms with sustainability divisions, 2) boutique consulting firms, 3) NGOs that provide consulting services, and 4) freelance consulting opportunities.

    – How to position your past experience to get your foot in the door with the type of organization best suited to your background and career plans.

    – Resources you need to know in order to stay up-to-date with emerging sustainability issues.

    – How to get involved in the SSC Consultant Network.

    The webinar is hosted by Jennifer K. Woofter, president of Strategic Sustainability Consulting (SSC). In the past two years, SSC has grown from a 1-person start-up to a consultancy drawing on more than 50 sustainability experts.

    Cost: $50

    Sign-Up on Our Website: http://www.sustainabilityconsulting.com (click Events)

    Space is limited to ensure an interactive experience where you can ask questions and get real answers, so reserve your space today. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive an email with log-in and call-in details.

    If you have any questions, feel free to email SSC at info@sustainabilityconsulting.com or call us at 202-470-3248. We look forward to seeing you soon!

    Posted in consulting, events | Leave a Comment »

    VIEWS: The Biggest Trends In Small Business

    Posted by Jennifer Woofter on January 10, 2007

    A colleague recently pointed me to an article in USA Today on the Top 10 Trends Shaping Small Business in 2007. Of particular interest to me were #4 and #1. Read on to find out why…

    No. 4. Green revolution

    We seem to have reached a critical tipping point, and there’s no turning back: green is good. And as nearly every large company now has a sustainability or corporate social responsibility program in place, smaller companies are starting to see the value in environmental excellence too.

    Whether it’s GM unveiling an all-new electric concept car last week, or Whole Foods markets becoming nearly ubiquitous, or the rise of sustainable development, there is no doubt that there is an increased desire on the part of businesses and consumers alike to go green. For the small business owner, the green revolution presents opportunities: It can mean helping other companies be more environmentally-friendly, or catering to the desires of your customers to be more organic, or offering green products, and so on, but whatever the case, this may be a chance to do good and do well at the same time.

    At Strategic Sustainability Consulting, we’re delighted to be on the front crest of the green revolution for small business. Not only are we on the receiving end (just check out our own environmental initiatives), but we’re also uniquely positioned to help other small companies green their own operations.

    No. 1: Global warming may put you out of business

    It’s no surprise to us that global warming is happening…and it seems like most Americans now “get it”. But that doesn’t mean we’re prepared.

    According to a report from the British government written by former World Bank economist Sir Nicholas Stern (“The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change”), “Climate change could devastate the global economy on a scale of the two world wars and the depression of the 1930s” (CNN.com, October 30, 2006.)

    Yup—it’s true. The scary truth is that we are facing a catastrophe that’s moving towards us like a monster in slow motion. We can see it coming, and yet are doing very little to stop it. At Strategic Sustainability Consulting, one of the most important services we provide is consultations on climate change management. So if your organization doesn’t have a plan for how to deal with the realities of global warming, contact me at jennifer@sustainabilityconsulting.com for a free consultation.

    Posted in climate change, consulting, trends, views | Leave a Comment »

    VIEWS: What Makes a Good Sustainability Consultant?

    Posted by Jennifer Woofter on December 4, 2006

    As I look back over the last year and a half, I’m amazed at SSC’s success. We’ve gone from a 1-person shop to a consultant network with more than 50 professionals representing all kinds of sustainability-related expertise. As SSC continues to grow, I am particularly proud of our ability to assemble teams of consultants specifically chosen for each project—a depth that few other consultancies can match.

    As we continue to add highly-qualified consultants to our network, I spend a lot of time talking with potential consultants about the state of the “sustainable consulting industry” and how they can get more involved. Just this week, I got an email this week that asked a question I hear frequently:

    What skills or training do you look for in consultants? Is a Ph.D. useful or would an MBA be a better degree? Are there particular certificates, like LEED, that are useful?

    I can’t tell you how often that question has been posed—and how unprepared I feel to answer it. Since I’m in a position to see a lot of the trends as they happen, I thought I’d give it a shot. But first want to clear up some misconceptions:

    1. You can’t just be a “sustainability consultant”.

    This is a common mistake, especially from recent graduates who approach me with “great interest in getting into sustainability” but nothing more specific. The more I learn about sustainability, the more I realize that EVERYTHING is about sustainability: energy, waste, diversity, culture, attitude, infrastructure, transportation, community, stakeholder engagement, life cycle, product design, process flows, climate change, transparency and disclosure, human rights, unionization, accountability, and the list goes on…

    One person CANNOT do it all, and the first step is to figure out where in the *big* picture you fit. Don’t forget to think about your industry expertise too—in fact, I suggest that new consultants make an issue/industry matrix to help flesh out exactly where they can play in this growing field.

    2. Sustainability means environmental AND social issues.

    This is another problem I see a lot—people tend to divide into one group or the other. If you find that all of your expertise (and interest) lines up in one field or the other, perhaps sustainability isn’t the right terminology for you. There is no shame in being an “environmental management consultant” or “energy consultant” or “social justice consultant”. So be honest—are you committed (and qualified!) to work on the bridge between environmental and social issues, or are you more comfortable focusing on one area or the other?

    3. Education may get you in the door, but it’s experience that counts.

    I have a cutting-edge graduate degree in “Strategic Leadership Towards Sustainability” from the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlskrona, Sweden. That looks GREAT on my resume, and I can honestly say that I learned many valuable things about sustainability that have made me a better consultant. That degree has given me a level of credibility that I didn’t previously have—but it would never have been enough on its own.

    I rely on my practical background in corporate social responsibility, in socially responsible investing, in ISO 9000, in shareholder advocacy, and in organizational accountability systems to run my business. So when people ask me “should I go back to school” my immediate question is: what does the rest of your resume look like? If you have years of hands-on experience, then maybe a degree is all you need. But without a significant portfolio of projects to point to, an aspiring sustainability consultant is unlikely to find another degree worth the necessary time and effort (and money!).

    And now, some advice:

    Consulting is a complicated business—with lots of variations. You can work for one of the “big 4” accounting firms within their burgeoning sustainability divisions if you like the sort of high-budget, business suit atmosphere those places convey. You can pair up with an NGO, many of whom are now partnering up with companies to form strategic alliances around sustainability. Or you can find a boutique consulting firm that caters to your specific expertise.

    I’ve found that the old adage is true: discover what you love, then find a way to get paid for it. When I started Strategic Sustainability Consulting, I wasn’t sure there was a market for it—I just knew that it was something I was good at, something I could be passionate about, something that was needed. The rest took care of itself.

    So to all the would-be sustainability consultants out there: worry less about a particular degree or specific certification. Figure out:

    • What you’re already qualified to do—sustainability touches so many things that often you don’t need a radical change to get involved
    • Where the market is—are there already businesses involved in this area of sustainability?
    • What kind of work-life balance you want—how much money you expect to make, what sacrifices you’re willing to make, etc.

    Then—and ONLY then—are you ready to start thinking about additional schooling and training.

    (But let me get off my high horse and be direct: I see green building and energy as the two fastest growing sustainability areas. So if it turns out that you’re just plain excited about sustainability, look into LEED certification, renewable energy contracts, and energy efficiency auditing. Just a thought.)

    Posted in consulting, views | Leave a Comment »