Natural Logic: Strategic Advisors to the Sustainable Economy

September 2011

Dear (Contact First Name),

The summer is often a quiet time in the sustainability business. Not this year. It's flat out busy at Natural Logic, not just with great projects with great clients -- guiding a second generation sustainability stratgy for leading US manufacturing company; developing biomaterials strategy for global chemical company; providing cleantech strategy and "brokerage" for a Chinese development company; expanding our strategic coaching services -- but also with some exciting things in the developmental pipeline (about which more details next month).

And it's been a time of excitement tempered with loss.
Ray Anderson - A Giant Falls Ray ANderson - Waterfall

We lost a giant last month. An insipration. A friend.

Ray Anderson was a man of big heart, generous spirit, penetrating vision, fierce commitment. He inspired and taught so many - including me - that yes, we could dream our dreams, and even bigger dreams. AND bring them in to being in the world. Even in the supposedly cold, hard, just-the-facts ma'am world of business.

Ray was able to show, at Interface, that sustainable business leadership could be bold, not tentative, and that it could be profitable.


For all his visibility, so much of what Ray did was invisible. But indispensable. [Read the rest of my reflections here.] 


A sustainability recipe: Six Ingredients


I spoke recently about strategic sustainability to members of Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a 350 company business association here in the heart of innovation. During the Q&A period, one of the sustainability directors attending asked for a short recipe of what companies should be thinking and doing. Here's what I said: 

  1. Think about "What Business Are You Really In?" What's the real value proposition you're offering to your customers? Not the physical artifact you're in the habit of producing, but the actual benefit they gain from using it. THAT's the business you're really in; now think about how you can deliver that benefit with less footprint, less product, or no product at all.   
  2. Think big. Think bold. If problems seem gigantic, then the opportunities are gigantic too.
  3. Be realistic -- but not in the way most people mean. Heed the laws of nature, distilled from the nearly 4 billion years of open source R&D conducted for us by earth's living systems. You can't repeal them, and you can't break them; you can only break yourself against them. So you might as well go along with them.
  4. Everyone, Everything, Early. This aphorism from Bill Reed -- Engage everyone, about Everything, Early in the process -- is key to effective integrative design and to design innovation that costs less, not more, than business as usual. 
  5. Measure what matters -- including your carbon footprint, resource productivity and product-to-non-product ratio. And keep two sets of books -- again, not in the sense that some people mean, but in this sense: one set using standard accounting practices, and one incorporating full ecological accounting, as Puma recently did (and discovered a potential 25% hit to their EBITDA).
  6. Provide a clear line of sight that connects each person's actions with their impacts, with the company's actions, impacts and goals.  

Helping companies design, implement and measure profitable sustainability strategies.

In This Issue:
A Giant Falls
A sustainability recipe
CFOs & Sustainability
Upcoming Events
CFOs & Sustainability:
An Invitation

The CFO holds a pivotal role in the sustainable business challenge -- a role that is still largely unfulfilled at most companies. Despite the rapid uptake of sustainability as a potent, perhaps indispensable business strategy, CFOs seem to be absent from the table. (There are notable exceptions, but the fact that they are exceptions just proves the point.)


That's why Natural Logic is hosting a series of programs focused on CFOs and Sustainability. These will include:
- a two day intensive this fall, details TBA
- a one day conf at Wharton, with Sustainble Brands (see coupon below)
- a one day conf in Phoenix, with AHC Group (as part of their semi-annual corporate strategy workshop)
- and a
six-month, generative inquiry for 10 CFOs (invitation only). We'll meet one day a month, at a luxury resort in northern California, to explore"

-       The cutting edge of sustainable finance;

-       The role of the CFO in the sustainability challenge

-       What's missing: distinctions, frameworks, language, tools, training

-       How both CFOs and investors are re-thinking the business case for sustainability;

-       How to overcome the market-distorting impacts of subsidies and externalities; and

- The critical challenge of "getting the prices right."

If any of these events are for you (or for your CFO), please contact us today for details. 
Upcoming Events


Natural Logic's In Conversation series will resume this fall; watch this newsletter and our events page for details.


In addition, CEO Gil Friend will be speaking at SOCAP, Sept 6-9; International Institute of Sustainability Professionals Sept 21-23 (where he'll be inducted into the Hall of Fame); SXSWeco Oct 4-8; Wharton Oct 24 (see coupon below). (And we're in discussions about keynoting major sustainability conferences in Latin America and Asia.)


Current plans have us attending these additional conferences in 2011: Going Green; SRI in the Rockies;  Bioneers; GreenBiz Innovation Forum; BSR; Green Festival; and others  


Contact us to arrange a keynote or other presentation for your upcoming events.


Gil Friend

Natural Logic


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Sustainable Business Metrics at Wharton

Explore the future of sustainable business metrics and measurement. This one day Issues in Focus event, produced by Sustainable Brands in partnership with The Wharton School, looks at the retooling of key business metrics to optimize business for sustainable success in the 21st Century. October 24, 2011, in Philadelphia, PA.

Learn more or register at