SB Research Weekly March 21, 2012   

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Better Decision Making for Sustainability

A number of books have been published recently exploring how and why people make the decisions they do--and how to make better ones. These include Predictably Irrational, by Dan Ariely (2008); Nudge, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein (also 2008); and Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (2011). Professionals and policy makers working on climate change and environmental sustainability are interested in this question as well, as decision making around sustainability can be especially problematic. Why? According to a new study by the Network for Business Sustainability (NBS), sustainability decisions are particularly likely to be affected by biases and errors.

The NBS study, “Decision-making for Sustainability,” is based on an expansive review of the decision-making literature over the last 60 years. According to the study, sustainability decisions are often influenced by the following four categories of biases and errors:

Each of us can probably think of decisions we’ve made that were influenced by one or more of those decision baises and errors. It’s easy to see why sustainability decisions are especially susceptible to them. The paper lays out approaches for overcoming them—and leveraging them--in order to help us make superior sustainable decisions.


        Solution Providers:

    Sustainability Consultants Are Upbeat About their Business Prospects
Green Research this month released a unique study of the global sustainability consulting industry based on an online survey that drew 1548 responses from six continents and 69 countries. The report, “Global Sustainability Consultant Survey, 2012,” finds that sustainability consultants are optimistic about their business prospects.
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    Reconciling Corporate and Investor Sustainability Metrics
There are over a hundred corporate sustainability rankings published today. Some are valuable to investors that focus on measures of corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance or so-called socially responsible investors. A new study compares the information used by ESG investors and researchers with the ESG metrics companies track and manage internally.
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