Your company currently evolves in a fast-changing system of constrained resources that exceeds our yearly planet’s boundaries. The competition for these resources leads to major environmental troubles and social inequalities, which are crucial to address. Yet, most existing business models are focusing on creating, delivering and capturing economic value, paying less attention to the environmental and social dimensions. If you are reading this paper, your company is probably interested in reducing its environmental footprint and social impacts. However, at Greenfish we aim to go further. We focus on the potential of value creation that is today locked into what you may perceive as constraints or that is simply not addressed.

Are you ready to look at your investments with a different perspective? Embark on the journey of transforming sustainable and social constraints into opportunities of value creation.

Multidimensional opportunities to create value

A corporate decision-making process generally starts with the financial levers of a business case, but it is only one slice of the pie, isn’t it? How are your investment decisions ultimately taken?  We suggest: build a convincing story both towards the top management and to all stakeholders by identifying the multiple non-financials value drivers.

Greenfish’s Sustainable Value Creation approach (SVC) is systematically looking for the links between a project or innovation and the corporate levers: brand reputation protected, structural issues solved, risks avoided, corporate culture enhanced, new regulations anticipated. Because we believe there is value for a company to be sustainable beyond the limit of its industrial and business activities, societal levers are the third key: environmental externalities, social conditions, wellbeing & health and ultimately changing consumers’ behaviors.

The connection to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations will then formalize and make visible the positive contribution of each investment.

Undoubtedly, to apply the SVC requires a shift of perception. It means that you accept that the global challenges are part of the solution to innovate your business model and, in the end, to improve the sustainability of your company on the market.

Getting started strategically

The journey might seem to be long and complex but there is a simple way to start smoothly:

  1. Unlock the missed or destroyed value of your past and current investment: make value drivers visible, communicate widely, involve the right stakeholders and capture the benefits.
  2. Consider the total business case of your next investments and innovative ideas: select your priority non-financial value levers, look at the portfolio of projects, prioritize and sequence the optimal implementation path.
  3. Be ready for your next business transformation to include more and more initiatives for circularity: energetic independence, zero-waste policy, pioneer on existing and new markets using the right green technologies… your creativity is the only limit to find the synergies between them.

Quick-win projects will emerge and are very beneficial to create momentum, launching the transformation. They do not often require upfront investment, offer a quick pay-back period and help employees to get excited, build credibility toward top-management and set the stage for further actions. Look for these quick-wins in different areas: they also exist by involving your value chain upstream and downstream. For instance, decreasing the CO2eq embodied in your final product will both reduce costs and dependence on limited resources.

Business model innovation through circular synergies: an example
The largest British sugar producing company is an excellent illustration of the power of such pioneer mindset. The company has constantly been seeking opportunities to turn waste and emission streams from operations into valorized by-products in new production lines. The project went far enough to wrap it into a ground-breaking new business model that delivers electricity, animal feed, bioethanol and more than 140 million eco-friendly tomatoes each year to the market, becoming UK’s largest grower of tomatoes.
Through diagnosis and prioritization, they identified synergistic ways to reduce their emissions of CO2 in the atmosphere – used for accelerated photosynthesis of tomatoes in glasshouses; they deviated pipes of hot water coming from a cogeneration unit to keep an optimal temperature in the glasshouses; they collected more than 115 million liters of rainwater from the roofs for culture. This portfolio of initiatives enabled to grow tomatoes 4x quicker than usual, shortening the payback period of the total investment and multiplying revenue streams.
Short et al., “From Refining Sugar to Growing Tomatoes”, Journal of Industrial Ecology, 2014

At Greenfish, we want to broaden your perception of value creation. Global sustainability can only be achieved if the business and the society act in the same way. We believe that the economic potential goes far beyond what happened in the last decades. What are your motivations, what are your today’s core issues and what technical solutions do best fit to your needs? By asking the right questions on why you do each investment, we help you stimulate the full potential of your corporate strategy.  And by linking your core competencies with today’s challenges, your next competitive advantage is opening.

Charles Dufour – Project Assistant at Greenfish
Pascal Heuschling – Senior Project Manager at Greenfish