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Even the most well-intentioned corporate sustainability program, green team, or consulting proposal will fail without a clear, compelling, and responsive business case to support it.

How do I know? My inability to construct a compelling business case nearly killed my consulting practice only a few years after starting it.

In the early 2010s, companies were gung-ho about switching from incandescent light bulbs to CFLs to benefit from rebates and tax incentives.

There was so much demand by companies that dozens of new energy efficiency businesses popped up to service all of the companies wanting to “go green”.

I saw this as a sign that companies were taking action, so I approached prospects using the ROI from the lightbulbs as an example of the business case for further embracing sustainability by working with me.

The only problem was there wasn’t a clear ROI I could point to and companies had been spoiled by making an easy switch and adding the cost savings directly to their bottom line.

Call after prospect call, it was clear I wasn’t getting anywhere.

With my biggest contract winding down, I put the breaks on prospecting to dive deep and figure out how to construct a business case that would actually work.

It wasn’t easy and a lot of what I tried didn’t work.

But eventually, I uncovered five primary building blocks for a framework that worked regardless of industry sector, size, and even with government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

So what are the five keys?

1. Meet people where they are
2. Understand the five perspectives
3. Leverage (the heck out of) the four drivers
4. Find gold in the value chain
5. Make micro connections back to the core business

Once I built out and began using these keys, companies started saying ‘yes’.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll dig into each one and share what I know.

As always, I promise to be honest about what worked and what didn’t so that hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes.

Which reminds me – thanks to all of you who have reached out to let me know that you appreciate my honesty.

It’s not always easy to be upfront about being human and transparent about our failures, but hearing that it’s helpful is all that I need to keep on going 🙂


An 8-Week Accelerator and Strategic Blue Print

If you’re ready to leverage the growing demand by companies and learn a structured and proven strategy to pivot and find new clients who want to work with you, then join us for the PIVOT cohort, November 22 – January 10, 2023.

A few virtual events to check out:

COP27 Business Pavilion for Climate Leadership Free streaming from COP27. November 8 – 17

Solving the ESG Data Challenge – Consistent, reliable ESG data is a challenge. This webinar looks at how to make data comparable, reliable, and complete. November 22


Warm regards,


P.S. I’m toying with the idea of doing a live stream to commemorate COP27 (and commiserate with others who can’t be there in person). Let me know if you’d be keen to participate.

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