It looks like good things come in fives!

Natural Logic is 25 years old today!

This milestone is nestled in the midst of a bunch of five-multiple anniversaries: I turned 75 in March. We celebrated 50 years of the Institute for Local Self-Self-Reliance two weeks ago. We published the Declaration of Leadership for Sustainable Business 20 years ago, and The Truth About Green Business 15 years ago (now available as the audiobook Green Business Field Guide. Just over ten years ago, I began what became a five year secondment as the first CSO for the City of Palo Alto, leading the development of its groundbreaking Sustainability and Climate Action Plan. And this year, we’ve begun the fifth year of our monthly conversation for possibility, Living Between Worlds.

From the beginning we’ve focused on business as a key vehicle for ecological transformation, and on the strategic value that sustainability can deliver to business. Not as a nice to do, not as a good to have, but a strategic driver of increased profit, reduced risk, enhanced brand value, greater customer and employee loyalty, accelerated innovation, and greater meaning and contribution to a world that works. (What I’ve sometimes called “the mysteriously elusive business case,” because of the deeply held and still all-to-common assumptions that you can’t do well by doing good, assumptions that blind otherwise capable executives and board directors to the substantial evidence that proves you can.)

Our work has spanned strategy, operational improvement, measurement and reporting, tool building, and ongoing provocations to clients and colleagues. Let me share just a few examples, not to brag but to tell a story—a story that may give you ideas, and serve as inspiration and a platform for the next wave of innovation. By you!

Some key themes in our work:

  • Drawing our lessons from the 3.8 billion years of open source R&D gifted to us by Earth’s living ecosystems.
  • Always starting our assessments with the physical metabolism of companies, industries, and places—the flows of energy and cycles of materials, including both product and non-produce—not abstract and always incomplete financial measures.
  • Building from undisputed science (yes, that’s a thing) to key “system conditions” for success to implementable strategies, built by our clients themselves, with our assistance.
  • Recognizing that “sustainability”—or regeneration, as we all prefer to say these days (and used to say long before we had the term sustainability)—is fundamentally a conversation about design. (And that any conversation about design—any conversation at all, actually—happens in the context of what we care about.)

Just few of our notable projects and engagements:

  • “Corporate Social Responsibility” reports, Regional Metabolism Assessments, Interactive corporate sustainability dashboards, sustainable business rating systems, and tools for “fleet analysis” of products and real estate portfolios. (Many of these the first of their kind, at least in the US.)
  • Engaging executive teams, CFOs, product managers, and other staff in sustainability briefings, FrameWorkShops™ and learning journeys.`
  • Multistakeholder strategy development for companies in tech, food products, financial services, real estate, energy, apparel, and other sectors (we intentionally never specialized) to raise aspirations, build roadmaps, and deliver “massive value.” (That’s a client’s assessment, not ours.)
  • And of course many publications and provocative postings along the way. (You do follow me on LinkedIn, right?)

These days our work focuses on:

  • Full Cycle Sustainability—a 3D (Declare/Discover/Deliver) process to help companies elevate their brand promise and drive business value.
  • Fractional CSO services for companies not ready or not suited for a full time CSO.
  • Provocative conversations—ranging from webinars to executive briefings—that change minds and move worlds.
  • Executive coaching for world-changers—founders, executives, creators focused on climate, clean tech, sustainability, regeneration, etc.—who are eager to have more impact, success, sanity, and joy.

Our newest initiatives are exploring how to make this work available to many more companies and people at much lower price points:

So happy birthday to us! And the best way I know to celebrate would be to do some work together with you!

PS:  It’s funny: We never wanted to get big—preferring the small, agile, virtual firm model—but so many people have collaborated to make this work possible that it’s impossible to name them all. Hopefully many of them will see this and know of our gratitude for the work they’ve done with us, and the amazing work they’ve done since.

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