Message from the President:
Let me begin by saying that it feels really good to have our fifth year of operations over and done.. The economic recession caught up with SSC in late 2009, leading to several months of nerve-wrenching uncertainty.
...Frankly, I’d just prefer to focus on the future and pretend that this last year didn’t happen.
I also realize that in times like this when a sustainability report is most valuable. It’s fabulous (and fun) to announce a huge increase in revenue and a decrease in carbon emissions – just read our 2009 sustainability report. It’s the tough times, however, that provide the most opportunity for reflection and learning.
So here’s our year in a nutshell: On the economic front, revenue was down for the year. This was mostly due to a couple of horrible months in the latter part of 2009 when many clients almost completely shut down their sustainability projects. It also had to do with a major shift in SSC strategy– at the beginning of the year we started up several larger projects with clients that have a longer payoff period, rather than going by our historical model of working on many small, short-term projects where clients paid immediately. Thankfully, we’ve completed that transition and see relatively smooth sailing ahead.
On the environmental side, our carbon footprint was up, in large part due to a single trip to China taken by two of our consultants.
...From the social sustainability angle, we had more people work with SSC than ever before, but we tended towards contracting out smaller projects at lower compensation rates.
...But enough with the look back – let’s talk about the future. As the economy gradually picks up steam, clients are re-starting the projects that were put on hold, and we’re continuing to see a huge demand from clients who need an expert hand navigating the Walmart Supplier Sustainability Scorecard.
...We expect the coming year to be better than the last, but not without challenges. Our focus will be demonstrating to clients that sustainability can have measurable results.
...It’s exciting to see our work in sustainability move beyond assessments and recommendations to actually implementing initiatives and seeing the fruits of our labors. It’s especially gratifying to see clients get recognized and applauded for their progress – in fact, it’s the icing on the (whole-wheat, vegan, locally-sourced) cake!