Kudos to the University of Waterloo’s, Faculty of Environment for offering a great seminar last week called “Sustainable Development Translated into Financial Value”. The seminar was offered by Dr. Olaf Weber, Professor and Export Development Canada Chair in Environmental Finance and by Dr. Blair Feltmate, Professor and Director Sustainability Practice.
The seminar offered a great foundation for the business basics of sustainable development. Here were some of the highlights:
- Dr. Feltmate is working on a Sustainable Development Index (SDI) and in particular offered the example of working with the Canadian Electricity Association to come up with specific metrics for that industry sector.
- As corporations move forward in sustainable development they will integrate new management systems, leading to system drivers and ultimately system outcomes. So as an analyst, what do you focus on? What is the best value predictor? According to the work of Dr. Weber, one should focus on the outcomes as they are the best indicator of impact on ebitda margins in the future.
- Banks/Lending institutions have a great opportunity to impact their credit risk management margins through the integration of sustainable development indicators.
This group at the University of Waterloo anticipates offering future seminars on a variety of other sustainability themes. Given the quality of this seminar, I’ll happily post future events for you here on my blog.