Rochelle March works primarily with Fortune 500 corporations and leading nonprofits to design strategies for improving environmental, social and economic conditions. The following are sample case studies of this type of work.
Large global food company
A leader in stakeholder engagement, this company sought to organize the input from its stakeholders including communities, academics, NGOs/nonprofits and government officials, among others. The company needed assistance prioritizing an extensive list of over 700 stakeholders. Utilizing Kumu, a helpful software program for visualizing stakeholder and social network analysis, stakeholders were organized based on characteristics and relevance to the company’s sustainability commitments. The database and resulting visualizations assists the company’s U.S. team to prioritize engagement with top stakeholders.
Global medical device and healthcare company
A major medical device and healthcare company sought to understand their performance against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and use the goals as a way to benchmark and prioritize the company’s strategy. An assessment methodology was developed, culling from the SDG Compass, where the company’s performance was assessed against the SDGs on the target level according to value chain relevance, type of impact, its ability to influence that impact and relation to the company’s material issues. In order to further provide a picture of the company’s performance against the SDGs, three graphical representations of the assessment were designed. The company will use the SDG assessment analysis as a benchmark to help prioritize its initiatives, and feature one of the visualizations in its upcoming Sustainability Report.
Global asset management and financial services company
As the financial ecosystem evolves, the investment tool of green bonds is gaining traction. A research report reviewing twenty-one different types of “borderline” investment areas, supported with information from in-depth interviews with fourteen leading NGO representatives, was designed and compiled to inform the company’s bond portfolio investment guidelines going forward.
Large global digital industrial company
This company wanted to make sure it continued to be a leader in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals. Through in-depth research of annual, sustainability and CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) reports of eight peer companies and other companies well-known for their emissions reductions, baseline progress of these companies of emissions reductions was identified as well as recommendations for innovative strategies and approaches the company could consider to further reduce its carbon footprint.
In a different project, this global digital industrial company wanted to explore the current state-of-play in terms of the circular economy, and what it means for its manufacturing lines – especially as a company transitioning from manufacturing to digital services. A landscape assessment was conducted to identify what peer, leading and emerging companies are doing to implement circular economy principles in their products and services. An easy-to-understand framework was applied to categorize what principles these companies were embracing in order to assist the company in internalizing the findings to explore where to potentially pilot innovations.
Multinational forestry company
A multinational forestry company based in Brazil was considering using genetically modified eucalyptus trees to deal with dry soil conditions from climate change and a competitive need to increase paper production. With such a controversial topic as genetic modification, the company wanted to make sure it was properly understanding public opinion and concerns and incorporated this perspective into its strategy decisions. In-depth desk research and interviews with thirty-five Brazilian and international stakeholder groups helped to inform the company’s engagement strategy and priorities.
Global toy manufacturer and retailer
Aiming to improve the ambition of the company’s sustainability goals, eight peer and leading companies were benchmarked to inform the company’s goal-setting objectives within six different categories, including social impact, operational footprint, and others. The results were used in senior level strategy development meetings and have been foundational in formulating the company’s more recent Citizenship initiatives.
Looking to reduce their carbon footprint through its largest emitter source – franchised restaurants – Dunkin’ Brands took Rochelle on as an EDF Climate Corps Fellow to help develop and launch a new green construction program, DD Green™, for its Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants. Rochelle refined a set of green construction guidelines to be applied to new builds, conducted research on energy management systems as a way to collect future utility data and track performance, and worked across departments to develop communication and training materials to support the program. The guidelines can save each average restaurant $2,000 a year and 49 metric tons of carbon dioxide. The DD Green™ program has been implemented in about 100 restaurants so far and refined to also apply to remodeled restaurants.
Leading environmental nonprofit, NRDC, focuses its Health program on the nexus of public health and environmental conditions. Rochelle worked first as an intern and then as a consultant who conducted in-depth research on inclusion of climate change considerations into state disaster plans (also known as SHMPs), especially given the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. This research also included doing outreach with FEMA and state officials and public health and emergency responder groups to build support for further consideration of climate change health impacts into state and federal budget plans. Additional research and analysis included NY/NYC climate adaptation plans, public health effects from heat waves and the use of syndromic surveillance devices for gathering public health data.
Focus: Business model innovation
Tweaking business models to create not only improved financial outcomes, but also additional environmental and social benefit is essential to creating real sustainability. This topic is explored in depth in the publication Model Behavior II: Strategies to Rewire Business. Several workshops for corporations and nonprofits have stemmed from the report that introduce tools and tactics for stimulating business model shifts within large companies. The workshops present the main concepts behind business model innovation and take participants through an interactive experience of testing several different business models to address organizational issues or externalities neglected in traditional business models.