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    By Nikos AvlonasCSE President, and Rosalinda Sanquiche, CSE North America.


    Years of research, international observation, working with corporate intrapreneurs and social entrepreneurs and leading programs around the world – we feel confident looking toward the future!

    2019 will be a continuation of trends, growing in momentum.  This year will also see the rise of sustainability practices in unexpected places using innovative applications of cutting-edge technologies.

    1/ ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE in its many manifestations will assist sustainability efforts by increasing efficiencies – a trend we’ve seen for the past couple of years.  Now, entrepreneurs are bringing their technology to market as reported in CSE’s  Sustainability (ESG) Reporting Trends: North America 2018.  What is brand new (pun intended) is the application of AI to social marketing.  AI algorithms can create emotion- and character-based interface to gain consumer buy-in and brand loyalty.  Creating a persuasive digital persona will draw from positive human characteristics such as ethics, empathy, transparency and social awareness.  This AI-driven marketing increasingly will be deployed in social media.


    2/ SUSTAINABILITY PROFESSIONALS are leaving home.  Sustainability practitioners will no longer be relegated to the Sustainability Department, under a Director of Sustainability, outsiders who tap the rest of the company once a year for metrics in pursuit of the increasingly in demand Sustainability Report.  Sustainability practitioners will be found in and demanded by departments throughout an organization to strengthen organizational culture around sustainability.  The legal team, Financial department, ERM (risk management), Procurement, communications, R&D, investor relations – cross-organizational departments will want a sustainability expert among their ranks, working side-by-side, answering questions, leading programs and informing policy throughout the corporate structure.


    3/ TRANSPORTATION is moving toward greater efficiency using established methods of better scheduling, on-demand delivery, and computer-assisted routing.  These are well established trends.  What is new is the growing awareness that climate change will change transportation dynamics.  The industry is experimenting with significantly low-fuel and even no-fuel options.  Elon Musk has a functioning mile of Hyperloop. Adhering to the sustainability principle of transparency, his Hyperloop concept is explicitly open-sourced, encouraging creativity and entry by other players.  Jeff Bezos is betting on battery-operated drones for urban delivery – limiting carbon emissions and congestion.  Already social entrepreneurs are using congestion to their benefit to promote the use of electric scooters in dense urban settings.


    4/ AGRICULTURE is increasingly under scrutiny for health and safety.  Blockchain will track products farm-to-table.  Local sourcing is growing, as is the demand for fresh products which are organic, biodynamic and/or non-GMO.  To accommodate this growing market, there is concern that these farming practices, being taken over by Agribusiness, may actually be contributing more to climate change.  If  more acres of land must be cleared, even slash and burned, to get non-GMO yields equivalent to 1 acre of “regular” farming, research shows the carbon load is greater for the more natural farming practices.  One option is to use existing farmlands, too often being subsumed into suburbia.  Another option is the use of halophytes which grow on desert or denuded lands, thrive on salt water and have long root systems which sequester carbon.  Increasing yields without the carbon burden of clearing lands will affect the climate change race by carbon sequester and lower dependency on fossil fuels.


    5/ CARBON TAX debates will increase as Canada implements its carbon tax (revenue neutral, as are most  options debated in the US).  Canada’s carbon tax may be high enough to meet climate targets but won’t cover the social cost of carbon.  Canada’s move is in part because it is already experiencing climate-related “coastal erosion, thawing permafrost, increases in heat waves, droughts and flooding, and related risks to critical infrastructures and food security,” as noted in its legislation.  Between 2019 and 2022, gas prices will increase less than 10%, but the cost of coal will double, increasing demand for cheaper carbon-free electricity.  The US Paris commitment is to reach 26 -28 % below 2005 levels by 2025.  Any headway the US makes will not come via a Carbon Tax anytime soon but, at least, both state and federal options are being discussed and legislation proposed.

    CSE is a leading boutique firm operating globally that specializes in maximizing business impact in Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility. CSE helps professionals advance their careers through our certified on-site, online ( and group training services globally and supports companies and organizations grow and excel through Sustainability consulting and coaching.

    Upcoming in-person Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner Programs (2019 Advanced Edition) include London, March 1-2; Atlanta, February 21-22; Toronto, April 11-12; New York, June 6-7, and other dates globally


    As Canada celebrates Canada Day and the USA celebrates the Fourth of July, we take a moment to acknowledge all the government and non-government organizations it takes to run a nation and align countries internationally.

    Governments and closely aligned NGOs are integral to the functioning of nations and international treaties.  Yet, they are often overlooked as part of the sustainability movement.

    In June, the Centre for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE) celebrated the sustainability efforts of government and government-related organizations.  Participants from the US Forest Service, the United Nations Federal Credit Union, and USAA attended our Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner Program, Advanced Edition 2018.

    USAA offers banking, investing, and insurance to those who serve, or served, in the United States military, with more than 12 million members.  USAA is growing its internal sustainability efforts and even diversifying into impact investments.

    The UN Federal Credit Union manages over $4.3 billion in assets globally.  Social responsibility is core to their business.  CSE is proud to have multiple members from their US headquarters attend the training.

    The US Forest service is highly cognizant of the UN SDGs as it moves forward domestically, and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines is focused on using sustainability opportunities to limit risk.

    While we welcome government-affiliated participants, the training also included non-profits such as the Nature Conservancy, Atlantic Health System and The Resource Foundation.  The fully booked course also had participants from such diverse corporations as Exxon, Celgene and Stantec.

    CSE is proud of our service to progressing sustainability strategy, goals, and reporting.  With consulting worldwide, our in-person trainings, and our award-winning Sustainability Academy, we offer important knowledge and resources in all aspects of Sustainability.

    Our next training is in Houston, Texas, September 27-28, 2018.  Appropriate to the region, the focus will be on the energy sector.  Early-bird registration will end soon, and our recent trainings have been sold out.  With questions or for more information, contact [email protected].

    CSE assessment based on research findings helps companies identify whether their sustainability performance boosts their business strategy.

    By Nikos Avlonas and Rosalinda Sanquiche

    Originally posted to CSRWire May 23, 2018,

    You’ve completed your Sustainability Report – good!

    You have a vision statement positioning your company as a community steward, protecting human and environmental resources – great!

    Can you now sit and wait for the next round of reporting? Is reporting just an exercise to appease a few key stakeholders?

    Not even close. If you are not connecting your sustainability strategy and all the work you did on your Sustainability Report to your business outcomes, you are missing an opportunity.

    Your Sustainability Strategy must be integrated into your Business Strategy. They complement each other, promoting the health and wealth of the company along with the health and wealth of your community.

    Based on our North America research, the Centre for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE) has identified a set of enablers and tools which indicate how well your organization’s sustainability strategy is integrated within your business strategy. Our research has identified correlations between having a sound sustainability strategy and financial performance.

    When sustainability enablers and tools combine with a sound business foundation, expect increased Sustainability Ratings – important to investors. Expect to positively influence stakeholders’ perceptions, instrumental in gaining customers. Reputation and branding are highly sought by companies, whether or not they are pursuing sustainability.

    What a bonus that you can have both – a sustainability strategy AND sound business elements.

    Knowing if your sustainability strategy is integrated with your business plan can be tricky. You need tangible ways to measure if they are indeed working synergistically with enablers, tools and outcomes.

    Key enablers include a culture of transparency, comprehensive strategic goals, and a system to respond to stakeholder expectations. Tools include your Sustainability Report, a Materiality Assessment, and systematic Stakeholder Communications.

    I didn’t expect such an effect. I took 15 mg of Cialis in the evening, as recommended at, and was excited throughout the night and until morning, I combined it with alcohol (300gr. red wine). After long sexual intercourse, I had dizzy head and nausea, which quickly passed. In general, this is a great and affordable drug.

    Has your company made these important integrations? CSE’s Sustainability and Financial Performance Questionnaire helps identify your company’s stance. A low score – your strategy is unlikely to support your financial goals. A high score – your sustainability performance enhances your business goals.

    We should all aspire to being stewards of Earth’s resources and responsible partners within our communities. Such aspirations must go hand-in-hand with financial performance. If not, how can we support the good we do within communities? Use sustainability tools to enable the financial sweet spot within your organization.

    Reach us at [email protected] for more info.

    By Nikos Avlonas, CSE President

    Over the past decade, the term sustainability has caught on in the boardroom, courtroom and living room.  While the concept has reached the mainstream, opportunities abound for implementation.  Ten trends to watch for and prepare in 2018….

    1. Role of technology – Between smart grids, smart supply chains and smart transport, i.e., electric trucks, trains and cars, reliance on AI will increase. This can be good or bad, depending on whether programmers KNOW to code for sustainability.  Unfortunately, research shows Silicon Valley is behind the curve.  Other tech centers will step up.
    1. Cities planning for climate change – Now that the insurance sector acknowledges the risks of climate change, increasingly local governments will prepare themselves. Coastal cities planning for sea-level rise or any town planning for the disaster du jour – hurricanes, sinkholes, tornadoes, blizzards, fires – must put sustainability plans in place or face uninsurable liability.
    1. Cultural divide – Besides the haves and have nots, expect a divide between those who do and those who don’t: do recycle, don’t eat meat; don’t stave off vampire electrics, do use plastic bags; don’t drive big cars, do carpool. Reduce/reuse from the Thrift Store or shop new at the Box Store?  Fortunately, retailers will offer more sustainable products to attract both.
    1. Corporate breakdown of silos – Corporations will increasingly value integrating sustainability across departments, product lines, R&D, manufacturing, infrastructure, everything! Up and down the supply chain, as imperative for international trade or a method of risk abatement – assimilating sustainability will become essential to ameliorate corporate woes and increase profitability.
    1. Fake news driving real news – With so little trust in media, companies, NGOs and governments will increasingly depend on externally assured self-reporting of their sustainability successes and challenges. As stakeholders become disillusioned and distrustful, sustainability reporting must prove itself – real metrics, no green or blue washing, with quantifiable goals.  And, all of it must be verified by an outside source.
    1. Cross-Company collaboration – Many of today’s pressing issues are simply too complex to solve alone. An even bigger traction of companies – and competitors – will partner to advance whole-scale change, like for example Danone and Nestle did to form the NaturALL Bottle Alliance.
    1. Sector-wide collaboration with consumers – Acknowledging the power of strength in numbers, companies in specific industries will continue to band together to accelerate progress on shared issues. For example, the Food and Beverage industry has aggressively tackled transparency, with major players like Hershey and Panera arming consumers with additional information, not only nutrition but also production (organic, non-GMO), shipping and handling (human rights), and sustainability efforts.
    1. Generation Z influence – Generation Z will hold companies to high standards. Much like their Millennial counterparts, Generation Z is focused on the impact companies have on the world. In a study by i4cp, 93% of Gen Zs said that a company’s impact on society affects their decision to work at or purchase from the company.
    1. Companies aligning initiatives around United Nations SDGs – The Sustainable Development Goals call for action by all UN member states to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. By aligning around the 17 Goals, and their smaller targets, corporations will take on major sustainability initiatives specific to company values. The SDGs are also going to change and enhance the future of Sustainability Reports.
    1. More Sustainability related jobs – Sustainability related jobs will be created, not only in large companies but also including benefit corporations and green startups. To get advanced knowledge in this field and earn qualifications, go to

    Based on a collective 100-plus years of experience among our leadership and advisors, extrapolating from our annual research, we at CSE know the challenges are surmountable.  With awareness, education and determination – ever forward!

    The Centre for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE) specializes in global sustainability consulting, training and research.  CSE has trained over 5,000 professionals, many from the Fortune 500.  CSE’s Sustainability Academy offers affordable, online education in corporate responsibility. Accredited by CMI (Chartered Management Institute), CSE is a GRI-certified training provider. 

    Upcoming in-person Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner Programs (2018 Advanced Edition) include London, March 1-2; Atlanta, March 8-9; Toronto, April 26-27; New York, June 11-12, and other dates globally