The Triple Bottom Line: The Business Case for Sustainability

Chris Davis, Director of Investment Programs, Ceres

Friday, January 18, 2013, 3:30pm

Spanos Auditorium

This seminar is part of the Jones Seminars on Science, Technology, and Society series.

To achieve long-term success (i.e., be “sustainable”), today’s products and business must not only be financially successful, but must be environmentally and socially responsible—and well managed on each of these fronts. This imperative for superior environmental, social, and financial performance has been called the “triple bottom line” and requires a holistic, big picture approach to design, management, and strategy. Successful businesses need to effectively manage financial, human, social, natural, and intellectual capital to survive and thrive. Thus, sustainability can no longer be viewed as a peripheral “corporate social responsibility” initiative, but must be integrated into all aspects of the enterprise—from the copy room to the executive suite and from the production line to the supply chain. This presentation will review key global mega-trends that are creating unprecedented risks and opportunities for society, governments, and businesses, provide an operational definition of sustainability, review the business case and practical benefits of sustainable business practices, examine growing investor interest in these issues, and explain how all this matters to engineers and other business professionals who will lead tomorrow’s enterprises.

About the Speaker

Chris Davis directs the Investor Program at Ceres and is chief of staff of the 100 member Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), working with institutional investors and asset managers on climate change and other sustainability issues. Prior to joining Ceres in 2010, Chris spent almost 30 years practicing environmental law. As a senior partner at Goodwin Procter LLP, Chris chaired the environmental practice, co-founded and led the clean tech practice, and was a member of the private equity team. He is a member of the American College of Environmental Lawyers. He has held various leadership positions in the American Bar Association's Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, serving as Education Officer, Council member and chair of the Keystone Conference on Environmental Law. Chris chairs the Board of Deacons at First Church (Congregational) in Wenham, MA. Prior to his legal career, he worked as an environmental engineer. Chris holds degrees from Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, where he was a member of the Harvard Law Review. Chris and his wife Carol have two grown children, Greg and Colin (who are co-founders of an energy efficiency software company), and live in Hamilton, MA. He enjoys skiing, bicycling, hiking, surfing, gardening, and other strenuous outdoor activities.