With increasing awareness of environmental issues and the magnitude of costs associated with climate change, it has become imperative for companies to integrate environmental efforts into their business strategy. Over the past few years, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) model captures a spectrum of values and criteria for measuring a company’s contribution to social development. Within CSR, there is an increasing focus on the aspects of “Corporate Environmental Responsibility” demanding environmental efficiency from organizations. Unless corporate citizens’ take proactive steps to manage the sustainability of the environment, the business will continue to have a negative impact on environment regarding the amount of the greenhouse gases produced, water polluted/wasted and landfill waste generated during their daily operations. A successful business of today is the one that contributes in establishing an eco-friendly environment. Companies needs to understand that it’s not a question of ‘can we make money out of this?’ it’s a question of ‘can we earn profits while being socially and environmentally conscious?’
The Carbon Consulting Company (CCC) is a ‘Profit-for- a-Purpose’ social enterprise that lives and breathes sustainability. The company’s work primarily focuses on sustainability assessments such as Carbon Foot-printing & Offsetting, Water Foot-printing & Offsetting, Water Auditing, Energy Auditing, Waste Auditing, Life Cycle Analysis, and Biodiversity Assessments. The company also provides management and technical consultancy and advisory services on integrated corporate sustainability strategy & change management, supply chain sustainability stakeholder engagement, GRI/Integrated reporting, carbon offset development projects (VCS/CDM), and international renewable energy certificates (IRECs). All of the company’s sustainability assessments follow international standards, protocols, methodologies and guidelines.
Inception Tale –Conquering the Initial Challenges
The origin of the company traces back over eight years ago, when one of the co-founders realized that he needed to approach experts in London to get his company carbon footprint measured and offset. After understanding the fact that local companies would never go to that extent to be environment-friendly, Subramaniam Eassuwaren, with his close friends Fazal Fousz, Azam Ameer along with Nobel Laureate and internationally acclaimed Climate Scientist Professor Mohan Munasinghe founded the Carbon Consulting Company to offer the much needed corporate sustainability consultancy service in Sri Lanka and the region.
However even a year after setting up a team of technical and scientific specialists to cover both carbon footprinting and forest based carbon sequestration, the Directors found the company was not making headway. Companies did not fully understand the business benefit of taking steps to make their companies greener, and in the absence of any regulatory requirement were not keen on investing resources on such a course of action. With a continued drain on financial resources taking its toll, it was decided to look out for a leadership resource, who could turn around the struggling consultancy, by creating a business value in CCC’s service offering that would appeal to the corporate sector while at the same time helping clients who do make an effort to be more sustainable to gain the maximum benefit for their commitment.
It was then that the Board had introduced to its current CEO – Sanith de S. Wijeyeratne taking him on board to lead the company, and to re-vitalize its service portfolio and restructure the company operations.
Leading with Excellence
Sanith has been at the helm of the Carbon Consulting Company ever since, taking it from its start-up phase to its current status as the country’s leading provider of Sustainability Solutions.
Starting his career as a corporate lawyer, Sanith made a drastic career change to focus on the fields of Marketing Communication and Strategic Marketing. He worked for global Agency brands such as Leo Burnett and Draft FCB, eventually heading the Strategic Communication Planning function. Later he helped co-found a local Boutique Agency – WORDS, in the capacity of Director of Strategic Planning & Media. Within the first year of its founding, WORDS was ranked as a Top 5 Agency at the local Effie awards for effective advertising and would also eventually win the country’s first ever Gold Effie Award.
It was Sanith’s passion for nature and wildlife, and his understanding that human development and industrial expansion was causing global climate change that prompted Sanith to once again make a dramatic career change to take over an environmental consulting company in the hope of making a difference to the world at large.
Sanith’s strategy was to create business benefits and leverage value from environmental activism which would appeal to companies rather than seek a high level buy-in from a corporate environmental responsibility angle. Starting by re-branding the company’s corporate identity, he went on to create and establish brand marks and certifications that would help companies to communicate and leverage their corporate environmental credentials effectively.
Achieving Clients’ Sustainability Goals
Carbon Consulting Company provides a diverse range of services depending on the environmental challenges faced by an organization or an individual. The company has developed a service model – 5Ms, which is Measure, Manage, Mitigate, Maximize and Market. The company has added another ‘M’, Materiality, a step that precedes all the above mentioned steps, which is used by sustainability assessors globally to identify the relative importance of specific environmental, social and governance issues that are of highest priority for a business.
“We don’t believe in short-term assessments, ours is a time consuming, stringent but productive process that encourages clients to commit to an extended period where they would continue to measure, monitor and reduce their environmental impacts over time without any external assistance,” says Sanith
The company is best known for its carbon footprinting. Additionally, the company has branched out into water, energy, waste, biodiversity and also helping companies formulate their sustainability strategies from the apex body of a company to downwards. “We firmly believe that unless companies build in sustainability at a corporate planning level, they will never really be able to go green. We want to be a real sustainability partner and not just another environmental auditor, and that’s essentially what we do”, Sanith asserts
The Success Saga
The term ‘social enterprise’ connotes a business enterprise that takes on traditional commercial strategies and practices to achieve social and environmental objectives that go beyond simply making the maximum ROI/financial returns on their investments. There is an excellent scope in the South Asian region for such social enterprises to make significant impacts. Given that it is difficult to ensure a business profitability and growth in such endeavors it is increasingly more important to have these issues addressed by companies which have a motive beyond making profits. Hence, there is continuous need of a social enterprise such as Carbon Consulting Company.
CCC is the Asian partner for Natural Capital Partners – the world’s leading provider of carbon offset solutions, and the promoters of the Certified CarbonNeutral® brand. In addition CCC created its own range of certifications, – the Conscious® Range – ( CarbonConscious® / WaterConscious® / WasteConscious® ) and the ZeroCarbon® and WaterNeutral® certifications.
Today, the CCC has worked with over 100 corporate clients, and is responsible for the reduction of over 100 million kilos of CO2e from the atmosphere as well as saving over 20 million liters of water, and planting over 20,000 trees in managed agro forestry projects.
Some of CCC’s clients have been the first in the world in their respective industries to establish credible sustainability milestones. Eswaran Brothers were the World’s first CarbonNeutral® Tea Company. The Hirdaramani Group’s Mihila Factory was Asia’s first CarbonNeutral® Apparel Factory. Walkers Tours achieved Asia’s first CarbonNeutral® Vehicle Fleet status. The Hanwella Factory of MAS Holding’s; Aqua Trading Global (formerly Linea Aqua) was the World’s first Apparel Factory to be certified WaterNeutral®.
Sanith’s stewardship at CCC has led to him being awarded the prestigious Global CSR Leadership Award at the Global Awards ceremony hosted at the Taj Land End Convention Centre in Mumbai. The company was also recognized as The Best Company Providing Environmental Solutions, at the Middle-East Asia Leadership Summit and Awards 2017 held in Dubai. CCC has also been accorded the Climate Neutral Champion title by the United Nations Climate Secretariat.
Towards a Better Future
Progressing forward with positive approach, one of the more ambitious goals of the company is to play a more significant role in the region, working with clients in a more in-depth manner instead of just auditing.
The Carbon Consulting Company would like to play a significant role in molding some of the nation’s priorities and objectives. The company wants to help formulate policy mechanisms that affect the country for sustainability.
The Government also has to play an important role for the environment; it’s not just setting policies. There has to be a mechanism, there has to be a formulation of processes, and there have to be verifications and validations. However, there also has to be transparency and credibility. As such, Carbon Consulting Company as a company will be greatly aspiring for that.