Lyss answers some Q's about #GreenTurnaround that we have received in the past. Possibly helpful if you have these in mind too.
1.How did you end up developing the #GreenTurnaround method for your clients to become more sustainable in their company?
I learned it the hard way. In establishing BLYSS, my original chocolate company, we went to giant effort to grow and harvest beautiful organic cacao; my father lived for two years in Ecuador writing our farming protocol from all he had learned from two generations of natural rubber growing in Papua New Guinea. Meantime, I worked on developing the recipe for our chocolate with the least amount of raw sugar possible and the best possible particle size, so the chocolate melted on the tongue in just the right way and was a very high-quality bar. In the final year, I went and lived in Ecuador myself to understand the work the protocols my father had written and officially launch the company. All of this effort to make our beautiful chocolate an amazing product for the European market! When I returned to Europe, I hired the best writer, packaging designer and brand strategist I could to help bring it to market - and they helped us make a very luxury and beautiful packaging and ‘experience’ for my BLYSS bars. During this time, we made packaging with multiple layers of materials, including having tins made in China! After having spent years perfecting our farming and recipe process, for the best environmental and product performance; I blew every C02 credit we had created by using the most unsustainable packaging materials. It was 2009 and still the awareness of packaging materials was new to the market and most of the focus was on ‘making my product sustainable’ and somehow at the time, I did not see that the packaging was part of this. I then went on to learn about logistics and the mobility of all our materials and the incredible environmental footprint we were creating for my organic chocolate bars. As an entrepreneur, I was expert in farming and chocolate making, however not in other disciplines like packaging and logistics. I would even send pallets of chocolate to the middle east in cooling containers for parties my customers were having! My limited view of making ‘my product’ green was good; however, I had no idea that the footprint around ‘how’ we were working was highly linear and polluting.
It was a wakeup call I got when we started looking at different packaging solutions for new products we were making - glass containers for chocolate covered cacao beans, then the wholesale trade started to order bulk cacao powder from us and we needed sealable bags, and the list goes on. With each development of the company, we kept meeting the demand and driving our C02 through the roof. At the time, no-one had asked us about our total footprint. Instead, we were often chosen as supplier of choice because of our organic standards on the farm, and social development programs with farmers.
In the chocolate industry, there was not much early development regarding overall sustainability - of packaging, shipping, ingredients. It was either organic and fairly traded, or not. The private certification labels were still new, like UTZ and Rainforest Alliance, consumers were not super aware and the legislations in Europe regarding waste, materials, circularity were not evolved as they are today.
Outside of the chocolate industry, I had started to meet ‘green entrepreneurs’’ that is business owners of great and successful companies who had developed each part of their process to be mindful of environmental resources and this spoke to me. By watching them and their decisions, I started to apply them to my own BLYSS. We were using significantly less packaging, only shipping over large distances volumes that made better sense and less wasteful. I started to become the change I wished to see, and it was an ‘organic’ (pardon the pun) process for us. As I met more company owners and teams who were actively pursuing this area, I became fascinated and started to benchmark and map their business processes, and while working in sustainable political lobby, aligned this to laws and best practices from various industries, segments and scientific discoveries. I now have collected years of data of best (and worst) practices, market trends, material science evolutions and regulatory directions. Together, this informs me of what steps my customers can take with confidence that ensures they are becoming more sustainable and also, up to date. Literally, the scene changes every 6 months so staying on top is crucial.
2.What is it that you bring from your background that makes you and your offerings different to others?
I have empathy for my customers. I know how they feel in terms of being highly expert at making their product and spending all of their resources to make it the best it can be for the market, and feeling insecure about the ‘other’ issues ‘out there’ like the environmental footprint of the total package. My customers say that they like that they feel heard and met as entrepreneurs, because I approach their #GreenTurnaround from a place of positive growth and align the steps we choose together to their business development (market, product, segment) and profitability goals. Our approach with the #GreenTurnaround method is to grow the business sustainably, so it is even stronger and resilient in the future, while making the best decisions for resources - environmental, and social.
My competitors are typically either certification organisations who apply a range of ISOs or internally decided measures. This works really well for some customers who want to apply exactly a sequence of standard.
What makes our approach different is because we build the sustainability from the bones of the company which are strong, we align it to the company’s best DNA and thus focus on keeping what runs well, to continue, and adjust along the way the elements which cause the most environmental or social damage. It is not a black and white world in #GreenTurnaround , we literally use shades of green in the 5-step method I created whereby the company evolves with best resources, benchmarking from the market, keeping their customers involved and making the most senseful long term decisions.
3.Who are your clients and customers?
For #GreenTurnaronud our customers are either company owners / boards or investors. That is, the people responsible for the company (and pay financially or socially for the decisions) are the ones who come to us for help. Typically, they have a low opinion of ‘green business’ and worry that it means they will lose profit, cost a lot of money, reduce quality or become ‘touchy feely’. They worry that I will turn up in Birkenstocks and carrot sticks and preach wild ideas from hippie ideals. Typically, they have been told by a colleague or peer about my work, and often call and say ‘Hey Lyss, we heard we need to talk to you. We need some green things in our company. But don’t change us too much’.
Everyone sighs a breath of relief when I come with empathy for their needs as a growing company and quickly audit their organization for quick 90 day wins that don’t cost much time or money to experience that first tailwind of ‘ok, it’s do-able’. We then map out mid and longer-term concepts which align to regulatory and future profit goals. We evolve parts of the organization and work with the experts inside and invigorate their ideas for great concepts. Our attitude with the #GreenTurnaround method is to find the best and most unique solutions for this company to create and maintain their lead in the market. Every strategy is different and is always a lot of fun to develop. We know it is fun because we get emails from teams who have been formed as a task force with questions and ideas, we get pings on social media with ideas and suggestions and we see and hear in updates how they are evolving. One interesting customer came to us because they had a HR challenge - their employees did not believe in the company anymore. That decades of offshoring cheap manufacturing to China while selling premium European brand was slowly eroding their trust and belief in the company. We did a #GreenTurnaround to evolve employee morale as a primary goal, which then evolved new products, created new customer segments and breathed a whole new life into this almost 100-year-old lovely midcap.
4.What happens if you haven’t yet worked with people in a specific niche or industry?
The 5 fundaments of #GreenTurnaround -
These elements are transferrable to all industries because the environmental resources are also industry-neutral. The air, water, minerals and metals that one company uses is the relatively same as to another. Just because it is producing chocolate or seatbelts does not matter to social and environmental resources. The legislative aspects of waste, eco design, single use plastics, secondary raw materials, shared resources, gender equality and chemical compositions are the same from the Antarctica to the artic and from microphone stands to carpet tiles.
Within #GreenTurnaround we always bring together the experts specifically mapped to the customer’s needs. Sometimes that is needing extra help on chemical compositions, reduced material design, servitisation or hospitality are required, and we bring together the best people we know from around the world to join in the co-creation. This is how we custom our team to match the customer’s best needs.
5.What do you expect of me as a potential client or customer?
I expect commitment, and do not tolerate green washing. I empathize with our customers who take years to evolve their #GreenTurnaround because it can sometimes involve changing a variety of processes in a large or complex organisation. I will not sympathise with deliberate foot-dragging or doing only the sustainable actions which might ‘look good’ on the outside. I advocate and seek customers who make meaningful change as it pertains to resources and the better use of them for the planetary boundaries. Those who take responsibly to create and produce differently so there is less pressure on our world, and those who shift nuances in their teams for greater social cohesion and humanity.
Working with us is all about co-creation and partnership, and I will bring observation, provocation, brainstorming, skills development, roleplaying, mindfulness and insight breakthroughs on your journey to results. And, as a vital component of our partnership, I will hold you accountable for your progress on a frequent basis. This alone is a critical success factor in our partnership. I help you capture your tangible and intangible results in a structured way and celebrate you to the market, the industry and your peers via our engagement model.
6.For whom are your services and programs not going to work?
As my mission is to enable sustainable leadership, the #GreenTurnaround method is not for companies who want to just get a #stamp or certification. Our goal is for companies who want to grow and develop profitably and with innovative green ways. They won’t just recycle their trash; they will look inside it and see if they can make a new product out of it.
7.What exactly do your programs include?
In our packages for #GreenTurnaround method of 5 fundaments of material and human resource optimisation for sustainable futures, run through 10 services:
1 Strategy – We formulate a strategy for your company based on what you do best, and where you want to grow according to the 5 foundations of the #GreenTurnaround method. This is co-created with your team and founded in terms and processes that your company runs.
2 Benchmarking – We are constantly monitoring environmental, social and business regulation to identify opportunities and challenges for companies and their current operations to advise what changes need to be made in what time. To ensure you take grounded steps, we map this to the market trend and supply, so you have the latest material science as well as functional delivery to choose which options are best for you.
3 Selected network expert workshops – Our network of experts who join Lyss on workshops with a focus of the most commonly required insights to make an informed #GreenTurnaround. They are celebrated in their field and give the right deep-dive insights on details with the latest knowledge. These are the following topics: material science, circular product/industrial design, sustainable branding / design, human transformation (customers / suppliers), green communications/ PR, willpower and challenge management, hospitality and gastronomy, green jobs / employer of choice.
4 Operational planning – Revisiting your products and services as environmental footprint can sometimes be abstract so we help break down the strategy to key performance indicators and map it to your change management or in-house project toolset such as (AGILE, Scrum, Prince 2, ISO, Waterfall etc.)
5 Motivation & do-ability – Making change in your business can be a positive or a negative experience and we want you fall in love with growing sustainability in your company way. Lyss and the team is famous for her positive and flowing approach to finding pragmatic solutions and keeping motivation up for those who sometimes feel confused or challenged by the constantly shifting sands of a green business.
6 Monitoring KPIs – Supporting your project management of deliverables and decisions, along with aligning them to what can be communicated internally and externally is what we offer here. Ensuring that you have the best answer at hand when asked at a conference about ‘what ARE you doing for sustainability’ in your company and feeling confident about the decisions made and where they are is an essentially aspect of a successful turnaround.
7 Peer sustainable-company networking – Meeting like company owners in your field, or even a totally unrelated field can be a big help towards getting a feeling for what sustainability can do to grow the prospects of your company. We connect you to like-minds who have either made the change you are looking at or have similar challenges so you can talk through eye-level with someone is a very helpful insight to the potential of what happens during a #GreenTurnaround.
8 Market access to green economy – Once you evolve your company along the #GreenTurnaround method you will have access to new customers that perhaps you were unable to sell to before – the green community! Due to governmental legislation for municipalities in the EU, green public procurement becomes a new potential segment for you. Additionally, stock market listing requirements and ratings agencies auditing of triple bottom line also become a new interesting angle to offer your products and services to large multinationals. Additionally, the large shift of midcaps and SMEs which are part of the green business community because of their values become a new target for what you are evolving in your product line. We help you know what the green economy wants and what their buying priorities are.
9 Awards & #ChangeMaking – Being proud and celebrating the small steps along #GreenTurnaround is important to do for both employee morale as well as signaling to your stakeholders your actions and achievements to a sustainable future. Being the change, we wish to see in business is about making the quiet shifts in design and delivery as well as showcasing to the market what is possible to do. Being an example company for both green politics to celebrate as well as enter awards demonstrating how sustainable choices are leaders is key.
10 PR and celebration – Avoiding greenwashing and celebrating #GreenTurnaround, the line is fine for those in the green economy as well as those yet to make the transition. Communicating changes and opportunities to those informed about environmental politics and science as well as those deep in your own industry is key to a successful project!
8.How do I know that your program really works?
Our customer agreements are always adhering to confidentiality standards, though I am thrilled to have a significant list of clients who have agreed to share their testimonial directly with you via a phone call or email.
9.Which results can I expect from working with you?
When you work with us for #GreenTurnaround, you can expect to get new insights to your own values, limiting beliefs and behavioral patterns in the company as it pertains to resources. You will find positive and profitable ways to grow your opportunities in the future by making your products greener and access a whole new market of customers who seek sustainable solutions (either legally or ethically). You will find a new zest of energy in your team with those who self-select to want to be part of the change and you will also understand fundamentally what is really happening in climate change. Along the way, you will get the training, practice and challenges you need to bring you from inspiration to implementation long term. Last, but not at least, you can expect to have fun during our journey!
10.Whom can I contact to learn more about what it’s like working with you?
We can supply you a list of current and past customers who will attest to the experience of #GreenTurnaround .
11.How can I be sure to get the results you are promising?
Working with me is like entering a partnership to explore, test and build skills in a safe environment. There is a direct correlation to the results you will achieve and the effort and focus you put into it. The clients who are getting the best results with me are the ones who commit to being open and curious about what opportunities can evolve with increased sustainability. Those who see it as a strength and not a weakness.
12.What do I have to do to recover my investment in your program?
Within 90 days you will have significant and measurable sustainability results in your company which you can share confidently with your customers, stakeholders, municipality and media. Within two years you will have recovered your investment financially from the mid-term changes made and new methods evolved.
13.Which options do I have to start working with you and how can we get started?
Send us a note on the contact us page!
Many companies are looking to grow sustainably in the market these days, and are either pushed by their customers, employees or own values to lighten their environmental footprint.
Overwhelmed by where to start? We have a simple system to audit 4 key areas of a business, and identify the easiest and best places to make some shifts in process to either make products and services more green, or even, a the company performance.
Through assessing a company and giving them a business robustness score, we identify where key weaknesses are to be filled. Typically, we have investors, funding programs, awards or even entrepreneurs themselves asking for this.
We do this by conducting our 8 point check to identify where a company might need support to secure their future success. Then we start a coaching and key process project, and then connect and activate our network to help them over the hurdle.
We work with investors, funds and awards to help them set goals which are beyond annual finance reports with broader KPIs which involve environmental and social good and convert stranded assets.
We do this by conducting our 3-step analysis of goals and target investments. With the UN SDGs and circular economy measures, we help investors identity which goals they personally and communally have and help them align them to companies who deliver in that perspective.
"Lyss is one of those women who, with her cheerful and humorous way, can bring you under a spell with her story and courage."
"Lyss helps us support green companies."
"She is one of those rare human beings that easily moves through peoples lives enriching them through social enterprise work within communities or inspiring corporates & individuals to take action."
"Alyssa Jade is a bundle of emotions and ideas. Her presence is inspiration and pure zest. She shares in an authentic way fresh points of view and exudes energy."
"Alyssa Jade’s approach to business is what we need more of in this country."
"Lyss is extraordinary. She is a whirlwind, a true entrepreneur, a continuous source for inspiration, a trusted advisor, and a true treasure."
"Sie demonstriert: mit leidenschaft kann man alles verändern."
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