2010/2011 Sustainability Goals

Balance is an essential element of sustainability. The very word implies stability and conjures images, such as a tight rope walker dipping neither left nor right, but making steady progress toward the ultimate goal. For some, the triple bottom line – people, planet and prosperity – means juggling the various demands and pressures. For us, the triple bottom line means balance. BrownFlynn came together in the summer of 2009 to prepare for our annual reporting process. As a team, we identified a number of possible sustainability goals for 2010/2011. As we further developed and narrowed these goals, we wanted to achieve balance. We divided the goals into the three pillars of sustainability—people, planet and prosperity—and evaluated them based on their materiality or feasibility. BrownFlynn then selected bold goals for each of the triple bottom line categories.


In the world of sustainability, it is often the ‘Planet’ issues that are in the headlines, but, in our opinion, it is the ‘People’ pillar that makes it all work. At BrownFlynn, our people are our stakeholders – our principals, employees, current and potential clients, friends, families and the communities we impact.

Our “People” goals for 2010/2011 are to:

  1. 1. Plan and execute our 15th anniversary celebration while educating the community on the importance of sustainability.
  2. 2. All BrownFlynn employees will participate in a signature educational event.

During our 15th year of business, BrownFlynn is committed to educating our stakeholders on the importance of sustainability. Whether through the launch and promotion of this report or through topical webinars, our leaders and staff will spend the year sharing trends, technology, behaviors, opportunities and challenges of sustainability—our goal is to plan or participate in at least 15 events throughout the course of the 2011 calendar year.

The cornerstone anniversary event will be in April, when we will host the largest GRI-certified training course in the world. Partnering with colleges and universities throughout the state of Ohio, BrownFlynn hopes to train in one location more than 150 MBA and college seniors on the GRI framework for reporting and managing sustainability strategies.

  1. 3. Improve employee engagement through education and wellness activities.

We believe that engaged employees are essential to a thriving business. As a small but growing business, finding, engaging and retaining talent is a necessary competency. Our approach to improving this process is to hold quarterly events focused on exercise, continue to build upon our strong orientation and on-boarding program, and foster a culture of continual education. Most importantly, we need to have fun doing it!

  1. 4. Plan and host an annual employee retreat to set goals, review processes and reflect on opportunities and challenges from the past year.

Committed to asking for and responding to employee feedback and ensuring every voice is heard, BrownFlynn intends to continue its annual tradition of holding a staff retreat off-site. This allows for complete concentration on internal issues and goal setting for the future.


As sustainability consultants, we are sensitive to the growing strains on the environment and are convinced that the world’s great enterprises will drive the solutions to our common environmental problems. We dedicate a significant part of our work to helping clients envision the role they can play. Our biggest opportunities lie in helping our clients imagine and achieve bold environmental goals.

We too, however, have operational impacts that ought to be carefully managed. Although our impacts are relatively small, they are deserving of our time and attention. Last year, we focused on creating an Environmental Policy and a Sustainable Purchasing Policy. This year, we will leverage these policies to manage our environmental impact.

Our “Planet” goals for 2010/2011 are to:

  1. 1. Reduce energy consumption by evaluating baseline drivers and implementing at least one initiative to save energy.

Our first goal is to identify and achieve an energy reduction target. We, like most Firms, have many projects which could be considered “low-hanging fruit” – those projects which are relatively easy or inexpensive and have outsized results. We will also identify possible future improvements, including the more challenging or expensive projects, such as changing established habits or making capital improvements. In every case, the financial and environmental benefit will be compared to the financial and environmental cost associated with the improvement, as well as the financial and environmental opportunity cost associated with taking no action.

  1. 2. Evaluate our supply chain based on our sustainable purchasing policy.

Our second goal is to use our Sustainable Purchasing Policy to evaluate our “supply chain.” As consultants, we aren’t consuming raw materials to manufacture consumer goods, but we do use resources to accomplish our work. We use fuel driving or flying to clients.  We use computers, peripherals and software programs. We use printing and shipping services. We eat. And, we use paper. Where we see opportunity without sacrificing quality, we will make changes within our supply chain.


What is the difference between profit and prosperity? Prosperity implies healthy profits over time. It also implies overall economic well-being for the owners, employees, suppliers and customers of a Firm. Profit in an owner-employee context, for example, can be imagined as zero-sum – the wage of the employee limits the profit of the owner. Prosperity, on the other hand, allows for both the owner and employee to be prosperous and in the best cases, for the prosperity of either to be to the benefit of both.

Our “Prosperity” goals for 2010/2011 are to:

  1. 1. Continue fostering a culture of innovation and launch at least one new product in 2010/2011.

Our first goal is a continuation of last year’s goal: continue fostering a culture of innovation. This is not the type of goal which ever achieves completion. In the business of consulting, it is essential to be in front of our clients developing the products and services they will need in the future. While we believe that we have an innovative culture capable of solving these future problems, we see an opportunity to improve our discipline around maintaining and leveraging this culture. That said, we will strive to innovate and create at least one new product or service in 2010 and 2011.

  1. 2. Drive profitability by instilling a culture of individual accountability.

Our second goal is to drive profitability by instilling a culture of individual accountability. In March, we hired a Director of Operations to manage our growing workforce and client engagements. With this addition, we have enhanced our internal processes and reporting to allow for better decision-making and staff management. Specific enhancements include:

These improvements have added a significant level of clarity and rigor to our decision-making processes and, by sharing this data regularly with the entire team, contributes to the transparency and individual accountability which are core to our culture.

Overall, our largest opportunity to have positive, sustainable impact is with our clients. To fulfill our mission to create a world in which all companies operate in a manner that provides for the freedom of current and future generations' ability to prosper, our over-riding strategy has been and will always be to assist and enable our clients to make bold and powerful improvements to their own triple-bottom-line.

According to Andy Warhol, everyone will have their own 15 minutes of fame. We are confident that the sustainability movement and efforts to enhance corporate responsibility will continue to build over the next several years. We believe that because of this, more people and companies will start to pay attention to their actions. We hope that it will result in a healthier planet and a better life for generations to come.