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Sustainable Solutions Paper—Applying Systems and Sustainability Frameworks

This handout will serve to guide you through the following types of systems and sustainability frameworks: Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA)Compliance to Innovation Analysis“Sustainable Value Framework” Synthesis: Detailed Driver Analysis

Utilizing resources such as the Peer Review room will serve you well as you begin to apply the content from your topic area to these models.

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Note:The questions in this document and the supplemental worksheets are for your reference. While you are not required to turn them in to your Instructor, you are encouraged to make use of them in the preparation of your Application Assignments that are due in Week 4 and Week 7.

Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA)

Review Necessary Revolution (Chapters 2–4, 8, 9, 14), and focus particularly on pages 212–217 and the associated explanations in the Senge book.

Based on your understanding of the reading—and particularly figure 14.10 on page 214, choose one or two products or services in your industry, and draw a life cycle assessment diagram using either Microsoft Visio (then saving the output as a bitmap) or the drawing tools in Microsoft Excel.

As Senge suggests:

Take a product or service your company offers and track it from left to right.Go upstream to the left.What resources are you extracting? What are the byproducts? How have you been dealing with the wastes? If your company provides a service, what key physical products are also involved, such as cell phones and fiber optic cables? Track these material inputs from left to right and ask yourself where they come from and where they go. If you do not know, find out. Businesses that are thinking about the future, such as Alcoa, do not want to put anything in the front end of their value chain that isn't benign or that can't be recaptured and reused (Senge, 2008, p.214).

Senge then says that, “using this big picture framework will lead to strategic questions that most businesses, operating within narrow boundaries, have long avoided.” What are these larger strategic questions? Discuss how they relate to any previous analysis.

Compliance to Innovation Analysis

Review Necessary Revolution (Chapters 2–4, 8, 9, 14), and focus particularly on pages 114–118 and the associated explanations in the Senge book.

Based on your understanding of the reading (and particularly figure 8.2) on page 115, assess where you think the company (and or industry) you are studying “fits” in the compliance-innovation scale.Provide evidence and argument, and discuss the implications of your analysis. Discuss how they relate to any previous analysis.

“Sustainable Value Framework” Synthesis: Detailed Driver Analysis

Review Necessary Revolution (Chapters 2–4, 8, 9, 14), and focus particularly on pages 119–133 and the associated explanations in the Senge book.

Based on your understanding of the reading (and particularly figure 9.2) on page 122 and discussion of the DuPont case (pages 124–133), prepare a sustainable value framework analysis for your chosen company.Specifically:

(1) Start with analysis of the lower-left quadrant, and identify ways that the company can change its internal activities to reduce/eliminate waste, consumption, and emissions from operations. Discuss the potential for both cost and process time reductions and for risk reduction.

(2) Move to the lower-right quadrant, and identify relevant issues with respect to how your company interacts with the larger stakeholder base.(You can, and should, relate this analysis back to the discussions/concepts from enterprise-level strategy and stakeholder value frameworks.)In what ways could your company change in order to enhance its perceived legitimacy in the stakeholder system?How can the company become more transparent and connected to the larger sphere of interests?

(3) Move to the upper left quadrant and identify the relevant technology challenges and opportunities that exist within the industry and company.What core skills could be enhanced or created that could give the company a distinct advantage, while also reducing the overall resource footprint of the company? How could the company innovate and reposition itself, or even reinvent itself, in order to better serve its current and future customers and society?

(4)Finish with a discussion of the growth trajectory for the company (upper right quadrant). Try to identify preliminary answers to some of Senge’s questions (on page 130) like: How are we going to bring our products and services to a larger world and shift our way of thinking about global social and environmental issues?How can the company reach out to serve underserved populations?How can we grow within a sustainable framework?

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