#2 Sustainability

WOW is now prepared to manage the hydroelectric power plant facility. The energy project promises to generate inexpensive clean energy for the emerging African economy, to support a regional eco-tourism initiative, and to produce profits for WOW and the royal family of Vastaria.

While the hydroelectric facility was under development, however, amateur journalists in Vastaria posted evidence on a whistleblower web site that the project may imperil the sole remaining natural habitat of the endangered species known as the Blue Frog.

WOW’s Board of Directors has decided to adopt and implement a set of sustainability standards that can assure the global markets that it is prepared to address such concerns. BFAC’s partner asks you to recommend a set of standards for WOW, to update the prior valuation documentation to incorporate these sustainability considerations, and to consider the possibility of a proposal to provide advisory services to WOW regarding the adoption and implementation of appropriate sustainability standards.

1. You must demonstrate that you can review different sets of authoritative literature, and that you can select the set that best provides relevant guidance to a vaguely defined business question or challenge.

In other words, you must: (a) identify the objective that the organization is attempting to achieve, and (b) select the set of authoritative literature that best applies to the situation.

Required:

a. Differentiate between the goals and objectives of standards that have been promulgated by the GRI, the GIIN, and the SASB.

b. Assess whether these three sets of standards collectively provide a comprehensive framework for measuring sustainability performance.

c. Determine whether the three sets of standards distinguish between internal control processes and business outcome measurements.

d. Prioritize the three sets of standards for WOW.

2. You must interpret and apply the relevant authoritative guidance to the question or challenge in a manner that supports and defends a business recommendation.

In other words, you must make a recommendation to the organization, and must describe how your recommendation will help the organization achieve its objective. You must also describe how well the authoritative literature supports your recommendation.

Required:

a. Identify the set(s) of standards that best addresses WOW’s valuation considerations.

b. Identify the set(s) of standards that best addresses WOW’s social and environmental considerations.

c. Identify any relevant considerations that are not satisfactorily addressed by any of these sets of standards.

d. Recommend three or more specific standards from the sets of standards that you have identified in your previous responses.

3. You must assess how well, or how poorly, the business recommendation has been implemented in similar situations that have been confronted by similar organizations.

In other words, you must describe how other organizations in the “real world” have achieved this objective. You must note whether these organizations followed your recommendations, and (if so) whether they achieved their objectives.

Required:

a. Locate and describe the sustainability content that has been published on the web sites of three or more energy firms. Hint: You may wish to review our compilation of Reference Materials in our Project Content list for possible choices of energy firms.

b. Assess the extent to which this content addresses the goals and objectives of the three sets of sustainability standards.

c. Assess the extent to which the energy firms have explicitly applied the three sets of standards to their own content.

d. Prepare a recommendation for WOW that addresses the extent to which explicit reliance on the three sets of standards is beneficial and/or necessary.

4. You must develop a plan of action that addresses the possibility that your business recommendation may fail to achieve the business objective.

In other words, you must define how success or failure should be measured. And when measurements indicate that failure is likely, you must describe what the organization should do.

Required:

a. Using the balanced scorecard framework, define four explicit measurements of success in regards to WOW’s sustainability considerations.

b. Using principles of risk management, define a leading indicator of potential failure to accompany each explicit measurement of success.

c. Review the history of the Bull Run project in Oregon. Recommend a set of “high priority” measurements that best address that project’s track record of success and failure.

d. Identify the process control procedures that the Bull Run project should have implemented to enhance these measurements. Consider modifying the spreadsheet model in Module #1 to address these considerations.