SOURCE: The Boston Consulting Group

The Boston Consulting Group

October 10, 2012 00:01 ET

How Sustainability Has Become a Strategic Issue

The Boston Consulting Group Explains How Companies Can Create a Competitive Advantage From Better Resource Management

GENEVA--(Marketwire - Oct 10, 2012) - For most of the last century, companies could pay relatively little attention to their consumption of natural resources. But rapidly increasing consumption from a larger and richer population has changed the equation, leading to increasing pressure on the supplies of a variety of key resources as well as on waste and emissions. Companies can no longer take these for granted, according to a report from The Boston Consulting Group and INSEAD. The report, Handle with Care: Resource Management as a Competitive Edge, is being released today.

The report is a follow-up on the previous report from 2011, Redefining the Future of Growth: The New Sustainability Champions, which resulted from BCG's collaboration with the World Economic Forum. In that report, researchers identified 16 "new sustainability champions" based in developing countries that have been successful at combining the sustainable use of natural resources with profitable growth. This new report looks deeply into the experiences of these companies to yield insights into what it takes to optimize the "total return on resources."

"Unlike most of their counterparts in affluent nations, these companies already operate under conditions of resource scarcity," said Knut Haanaes, a BCG partner in Geneva and coauthor of the report. "They've had to respond in a practical way to what some Western companies see as only a far-off threat. We can all learn from them."

The Principles of Effective Resource Management

The report lays out seven principles for maximizing a company's total return on resources. These involve not just operational directives, such as embedding the effort deep into the organization and measuring aggressively. These leading companies also demonstrate how to shape the business ecosystem and come up with new business models that monetize resource management.

"More and more companies will need to find ways to break the looming tradeoff between growth and the conservation of natural resources," adds Kim Wagner, a BCG senior partner in New York and coauthor. "This is an early look at what that's going to involve."

To download a copy of the report, please go to www.bcgperspectives.com.

To arrange an interview with one of the authors, please contact Eric Gregoire at +1 617 850 3783 or gregoire.eric@bcg.com.

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