Re-Stocking Your Environmental and Sustainability Knowledge Capital

February 15, 2000 · by James P. Cramer

If your firm’s knowledge capital includes expertise in the client service areas of environmental and sustainability, congratulations! Your foresight seems certain to pay dividends for you well into the future, as firms indicate high perceived client

If your firm’s knowledge capital includes expertise in the client service areas of environmental and sustainability, congratulations! Your foresight seems certain to pay dividends for you well into the future, as firms indicate high perceived client interest in these areas.

In the last four weeks we have conducted three strategic retreats with leading organizations. During each of these sessions we have discovered that there is even more interest in sustainability and the consulting services that follow. This is a strategic services trend in the industry.

Several firms are now leading in environmental and sustainability consulting and have found that it is an excellent compliment to other services that the firm offers. In certain instances, firms have become experts for their knowledge on green and environmental issues. This knowledge capital is filling the gap towards meeting the real wants and needs of clients. This need will grow.

Questions often come up during these strategic retreats about resources that are available to assist firms seeking new information on environmental and sustainability issues. We often refer people to the U.S. Green Building Council, the Joslyn Castle Institute, and the professional interest areas of professional associations. And we also recommend reading and keeping up to date on the latest information available.

Here are some very relevant new resources that have come out in the last few months:

1.Global Environment Outlook 2000. U.N. Environment Programme. Robin Clarke, Editor. London: Earthscan, 398 pages.

2.Environmentalism for a New Millennium: The Challenge of Coevolution. Leslie Paul Thiele. Oxford University Press. 302 pages.

3.Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution. Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and Hunter Lovins. Little, Brown and Co. 396 pages.

4. Sustainable Marketing: Managerial-Ecological Issues. Donald Fuller. Sage Publications. 395 pages.

5.Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds! Arthur C. Clarke. St. Martin’s Press. 558 pages.

It is becoming increasingly common for design firms to identify in-house talent or to recruit talent that can lead in this new field of relevancy.

Can design firms become experts in the field of sustainability? Absolutely. Are there business models that make it a good investment? Most certainly. Is it a trend within the most successful firms and organizations today? Increasingly, the answer is yes.

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