Managing Sustainability and Climate issues in a businesslike manner
The future of many industries, especially the energy industry, is inseparable from the management of sustainability and climate issues. Different people and different companies have differing views regarding climate change and man’s role. For the business community, these individual views don’t matter much. What matters are the views of policymakers, customers and investors. Climate issues affect how many people in these groups view a particular company.
- Driven by pressures from voters and pressure from international organizations, policymakers want to show improvement in cutting GHG emissions.
- Many consumers want to feel good about the products they use (even if they aren’t willing to pay a premium for “green” products).
- Investors, especially sophisticated ones, want to understand the risks inherent in a firm whose business model may be challenged by the dominant environmental issue of our time.
These challenges manifest themselves as both voluntary pressures and mandatory requirements to reduce the footprint of a company’s operations. I can help your firm understand what these impacts and drivers may be and work with you to identify options on how to manage them.
Managing business critical environmental issues
Complex environmental issues sometimes create their own context. This is especially true in the areas of enforcement and permitting. Rules change, precedents change and players change. Investor and stakeholder’s expectations of management change. The act of obtaining a major permit or managing a major enforcement case can change the situation that surrounds it. This is especially true of high profile cases.
Sometimes these changes happen quickly and without warning. Sometimes they build gradually and may go unnoticed. But when a major issue arises, these changes alter the world around you and many of your prior assumptions need to be re-assessed.
I can help here. I’ve worked on many dynamic issues where the formerly established rules of the game no longer seem to apply. I can help you understand the new context, develop approaches for dealing with new and existing stakeholders and understand the risks of your situation. From there we can develop an approach to manage the issue at hand.
Managing business risks
In today’s world, managing a business is all about managing risks.
Environmentally driven risks can have an especially pernicious effect on business. They can crop out of nowhere to drive capital spending, delay — or even kill — projects, and increase operating costs. In the worst case, they can even make your business model obsolete. These risks can be new regulations, public concerns, growing investor pressures and many other things. These types of risks are often intangible and difficult to quantify and predict but they can shatter your business.
We need to focus on these risks in both the short-term and the long term.
- In the short term, usually less than five years or so, the impacts of environmental risks need to be included in your business planning and near-term strategies. We need to examine, what could happen and, if it does, how will we deal with it.
- In the longer term, we need to think about what trends are over the horizon and how they can manifest themselves in your business — for better or worse.
Getting Capital Projects Right
For a project to be successful, it needs:
- a robust Safety and Environmental Plan and a managment system to support it and
- a strategy for regulatory approvals, especially for environmental permits and required impact assessments.
This is true for projects large and small.
A project safety and environmental plan must cover the elements essential for a particular project but also must be fit for purpose to the scale of the project. It should be accompanied by a sytematic approach which drives performance. Whenever possible, the management system providing this approach should mimic the look and feel of the tools in place inside the performing organization — whether that be the owner, the constructor or the driller.
In many projects, especially in the United States, there is no greater risk to project schedule and cost than securing environmental approvals. It is essential that these be planned for early, in the concept selection stage in most projects. At this point it is still possible to screen project options based on their ability to expedite or inhibit these approvals. By providing direction and constraints to development team at these early stages, we can steer the project in directions that avoid undue risks.
I can help you plan your major projects. I have experience in capital projects of all sizes in a wide variety of settings. I am especially practiced in the front end loading of megaprojects.