In this synergistic episode, Jasper Steinhausen, Founder of Business with Impact, shares how he has helped more than 100 companies create remarkable business results through sustainability.
You will discover:
– Why you don’t have to choose between profitability and sustainability
– Why government doesn’t hold the keys to sustainability and who does
– How SMEs can use sustainable business practices to boost profitability and make an impact
Hello, hello and welcome. Welcome once again to the secrets of the high demand coach podcast. And I’m here with yet another high demand coach from the other side of the pond, the one and only Jasper Steinhausen. Now, he is the founder and CEO of business with impact. He’s a business consultant and a specialist in making sustainability profitable for small and medium enterprises, particularly in the manufacturing space. He’s an appraised speaker, and has presented on the subject of business and sustainability to well beyond 10,000 people, ranging from board members and leadership teams to technical staff. He’s the longest running Circular Economy business consultant in the Nordic countries, of which I’m partial to because my wife is a Norwegian. And so we’ve got that going for us, Jasper, but in the Nordic countries, and has actually been an advisor for the Danish government on how to accelerate the green transition through their green transition fund. So Jasper, welcome to the show. I’m so excited that he’s here. I’m excited to dive into sustainability and the business argument for that. But before we get there, I’d love to hear your story. What were you doing before all of this coaching and consulting? And why did you ultimately lead that? Why did that lead you to make the leap?
Yeah, well, it’s a long story. No, it’s an old story going way back, because I still remember that day that actually came to shape my life because there is a direct line from or not a direct, or more or less a line coming from a class when I was just a teenager, I was sitting in school, and the subject of this class was climate change. And our teacher, Tom, he told us that the melting of the ice from the Greenland Ice Shield will actually lead to or could lead to a disturbance or even potentially stopping the Gulf Stream that brings the warm water to Scandinavia, and, and the UK. And if that would happen, and then actually, ironically, global warming will lead to the spreading of the Arctic climate all the way, potentially all the way across Scandinavia. And that was really mind boggling for my young brain thinking is this the magnitude of the problem, and this is the magnitude of the experiment that we are doing. And so that kick started this mix of curiosity, and you know, we got to do something. And I’ve been working with sustainability ever since. And for many years, going through university and the first jobs, I was really sure that, you know, governments held the keys to this, this is how we are going to make the changes that we wanted to see. And but but then came the United Nations Cup climate cup 15 in Copenhagen back in 2009. So there I was home city first row. And it was terrible. It was really like watching a car crash in slow motion, where you can just see, oh, this is gonna go wrong. And, and then all the horror. And it’s widely recognized as the worst COP of the mall, which is a bit of an achievement. So, so there I was, and everything I thought was, this is how it works just fell apart around in front, right in front of my eyes. So a bit of discouraging, but But you know, out of reflection, came the realization, to me that is really business that holds the keys to the transition. And so the changes that we wanted to see. And so I’ve been on that ever since. And that’s really why I have this company business with impact. That is to help business leaders figure out how do I actually do this? You know, what it’s like, for me? What’s my path that make you make it profitable for me, while we are making the changes that we want to see? Yeah, so that’s really why I sit here today, while we’re having this conversation, it goes all the way back to my teenage years.
Fantastic fantastic, and actually brings me to the one of the first questions I have, and that is do we have to choose between profitability and sustainability? I think there’s this kind of, you know, it, I wouldn’t even call unspoken, because it’s actually spoken with, like the capitalists versus the, you know, whatever. Yeah. And you’ve got these two sides that feel like they’re constantly at war. But I don’t hear that in anything that you talk about, do we have to choose between the two?
No, absolutely. I would say, you know, the further ahead we go, the more it’s going to be like if you want profit, you got to go sustainable. Because the thing is that sustainability can help you solve so many of the classical business issues that will be on the C suites plate, right? So cutting cost, increasing sales, increasing customer loyalty products, et Cie innovation, you know, all the things that we all have on our plates, right, right. But people just don’t know it and a lot of it comes down also to how we communicate about this is really a crucial thing because everything basically everything related to sustainability is all about you know, doing less avoiding Putting down less or less being less bad, right? Do you recognize this picture? I’m assuming. Whereas you know, if you get up in the morning as a business a year is more about creating more, right? more growth, more jobs, more customers, more products, more something, right? Yeah. And if you look at that, it’s kind of like, well, we can be on the same page, I cannot, you know, as a CEO, I cannot take advice from my sustainability guy, or for the consultant or whatever, because ultimately, they just talking about being less about everything, and I want more of everything. So we, but we really what we need is just reframing because so much of this, at the end, really is about avoiding useless waste. All right, raw materials of energy of products that has, you know, very short lift that could be far more valuable to the client easier, and so on, and so on. So there’s so much opportunity. If we just start to reframe this and talk about, no, we’re about creating new and better versions of our product. So this is a massive innovation and business driver at the end.
Yeah, yeah, that’s fantastic. And one of the things again, as I was researching for the episode, and I saw this a couple of places, and it’s always been a place where I’ve struggled a little bit is what’s the role for small and medium enterprises? Right? We’re not pumping billions of pounds of co2 into the air every year. How can entrepreneurs and small businesses take part in the circular economy?
Yeah, well, it’s a good question. But you know, if I may, you know, pick on just how you frame this, you say, we are not pumping out, you know, millions of tons of co2, right. But that’s the usual way of talking about this, this is the, okay, I have, I’m part of a problem, I need to do something, it’s this, you know, we have a burden, we have a problem, we need to figure out who has to take what part of that share, right, whereas for me, it’s about, you know, who would not want to rush in where if you understand that this is a set of tools, that can really help you solve some of the most critical business problems you have, while at the same time, giving you this amazing feeling that, you know, now I’m actually part of solving some of this because you don’t know what climate change really is, in a business setting. If you look at it, it’s like the massive disruptive force, that just picks up speed with every extreme weather event that occurs. And because we are all just people, people in, you know, an organization is, is you know, it’s just a number of people together. Right? And, and we all experienced this and you know, a summer like this we just had, with this just kind of like endless string of weather extremes. Most of us had some sort of experience with it on our own body. And if we came to any news platform at any time, we’ve been bombarded with it, right. And it makes people react right at some gets through frightened and scared, some get angry, some get his son, you know, someone even want to do something on their own. But a lot of people get to this conclusion, you know, somebody ought to do something. And who do you think those somebody is? Well, their governments and business are the two biggest players in this room. So everybody will expect you to do more and more. And you know, everybody has a private life, but they also have a work life. And some of them are your next clients or the procurement or they’re part of legislation team or, or they’re the the end customer or your next partner or your next innovation fund or your next guy will sit and evaluate whether or not your application for funding should go through and so on. So right so everybody is this this is growing pressure around business to understand it, you got to get out of being part of the problem and get over to becoming part of the solution.
Yeah. And so a lot of times you know, what we’ll see is you know, you can there’s carbon credits or buying trees or things like that, that feel like they’re extra if it doesn’t feel like for the you got the you’re just trying to get your head above water as a small business. So what are some practical steps then that we can take where we’re like you’ve you’ve said many multiple times, you’re where we can align the principles of sustainability and solve the problems that are right in front of us maybe even a story or two that you’ve seen it?
Sure, sure. I mean, I actually created the model like all of the impact blueprint and that’s in my book, really like a do it yourself version of it, see all the everything you need is there. But the third step is really mapping out how do we progress from here and that’s where I use the circular economy and it has five disciplines and I will not go into them right here. It’s more like imagine there are five different sets of glasses your take on and then you you your your business and your whole business set up. And out of that you brainstorm all the options you can get where you can see here is something that we could do differently, you’re able to utilize But then the trick is, and that’s what’s missing in most of these tools for mapping out and actually most of the work on sustainability. And then I say to people write down your top five, business problems today. So not sustainability problems, but business problems, right. And if one of them or two of them our sustainability with that, and that’s okay, but you don’t stop there you started, this is my business prom, I need to cut cost, I need to attract more people I need to whatever. And also, what are the top five of your ideal clients, so that sometimes they overlapping, popping, but lapped up to 10, that’s your filter. And then you take all the ideas you have, and you push them through the filter. And what comes out in the end is things that you can do that will help you solve the biggest problem you and all your clients have. And that will also have a meaningful contribution to the world. Yeah, that’s your roadmap, then you just structure that, and then you go to work on that. But that will mean that everything you do will on it’s only from a business perspective, valuable. And also have an impact, right? So I say to people, you know, it’s about creating business with an embedded environmental impact, and not the other way around. Right. So that’s your very, very sweet short filter. Whenever somebody comes with you, and an idea we could do this, okay. Does it generate business value? And generate some sort of impact? If not, back to the drawing board? Think harder. Right? Right. So there’s actually pretty simple way of sort of filtering out which ideas are not going to help your business but just as you say, very often via costs, right, like crop credits, or, or, you know, that’s doing something just out there on the outskirts of a product that doesn’t really generate any, any impact any value, it’s just going to be a cost an extra cost. Whereas if you use it right, well, then it’s going to be actually a driver of value.
Yeah, yeah, that’s brilliant. I love that even just from an exercise standpoint, measuring this against top five challenges for you and your ideal clients. There’s, there’s so much wisdom in that. I want to shift gears with you just slightly, because something else that I noticed, and even open this with your story is, you know, there’s there’s an interplay between government and business that has to happen in this space. So you talk just a little bit about the slow motion car rack, right, and how business holds the keys. But you also are active and helping some governmental funds. So what’s the difference in the roles that government and business play? And how can they work together more effectively?
Yeah, well that’s a really, really good question. I would say that the role of the business is really to create the solutions, right? This is where the, this is the leverage. This is where we’re really push comes to show. Whereas for governments, it’s for pushing it, right. So in some sectors, and in some regions of the world, it differs, how far ahead you are. So some places, we actually see that the market is ahead of the government. And in other places, it’s the other way around. But sometimes in every corner of the world, there is a need to for governments to go in and say, Well, I think we need to push it a bit here. And I think an interesting story, if you look to it, but this was not by by design, but by accident. But if you look at the fear, the energy, and here in Denmark, back in 1973 74, when the first oil crisis were here, it tremendous, it hit hit tremendously hard on a lot of industry, and yada, you know, skyrocketing and on unemployment rates, and so on, and so on really, really hard time. But if you look at some of the biggest companies we are today, well, they all aren’t coming out of that situation. Right. They emerged on the back of that. So Vestas with windmills, ask the Guan Foss with pumps, the looks with Windows awkward with and so it says you know, we just have some of the and their world plant dominant players today. But they came out of that, right. So sometimes as a government, you need to sort of bet on creating the kind of solution you don’t need to pick the winner, but you need to pick sort of an area like in energy efficiency or whatever, it could be all carbon capture storage that’s so much up right now or something, you got to pick your winners, and then basically help sort of get the get the stuff moving. But then, of course, you need the business to run or to run the innovation part. But, you know, realizing that just about all innovation. It’s an interplay between government and, and government funding for for public research and sampling. And then uation bad right, so the famous example of the iPhone. Yeah, it’s, you know, Apple created the iPhone. Yeah. But they created by assembling stuff that were created by public funding, right. So there wouldn’t be in a screen that wouldn’t have been. That wouldn’t have been the, the, the system for navigation that wouldn’t have been, you know, just about everything in there. Were actually created out of public funding. The innovation part was putting it all together. That’s what They’re brilliant since I was taking it to market, but they didn’t invent the stuff, right? So we got to, you know, embrace the fact that it’s a dance, right? We need two people to dance together. We need the public side, and we need the government, the private side.
Yeah. It’s so good. I love you know, just the simplicity of that creating the solution, pushing the solution, helping create an environment for it and allowing others to innovate and thrive. Yeah, that’s excellent. So there’s a question I like to ask all my guests. And it’s this, what’s the biggest secret that you just wish wasn’t a secret at all? What’s that one thing that you wish every entrepreneur business leader, everyone listening or watching today knew?
Yeah, well, that will be that sustainability is probably the biggest business opportunity of our time. If people knew that, if they recognize that if they started to wrestle a bit with it, I’m sure. You know, business leaders are smart people, they will find their way. But they’re on these handful of common misconceptions. And we also talked about some of them here today. That sort of blocking it, and it is this fact that, you know, it’s either or, or it’s just additional cost, or it’s something I do because I feel I have to or whatever it as people just recognized and understood the massive business opportunities there isn’t this because it’s not just for the tech sector, right, the green tech that everybody talks about, you know, if again, let’s just say you’ve had this weird weather experience over the summer, and you’re starting to get a little bit scared, right? I don’t know. Do you have kids? By the way? I do. Yeah, you did. Right. Okay. So you’re coming to an unpleasant part of it, they are going to have poor conditions to live their lives. And you and I have had, I have three kids myself, unless we do things very, very different, right? So we need to get people to understand that more and more people are waking up to this realization that looking at their kids or their grandkids, it’s like, this is not right, maybe we need to do things differently. And even though I’m just out now looking for a new pair of shoes, if somebody says to me, Well, you know, the way we do this, we do this by making a positive impact. And we are part of solving the climate, the climate crisis. Well, instantly, they get shortlisted, of course, at the end of the day, the product has to stand. Its the tests and quality, precise and price delivery, all of that, of course. And that’s only fair. Sure, that’s how it should be, you don’t you shouldn’t win because it’s green should win, because it’s the best product. But it will short track you right. So it’s the fastest way to get through it. And with people just understood that, and what it takes to it in terms of signaling and all of that. But if it did that, you know, they will is again, they’ll just unleash this massive way of innovation. And, and the examples of the companies I’ve worked with, and come across that really do this, they’re just sweeping the floor with a competition, that it’s a different game, right? It’s really like the runner up against the bike rider of trying to get from A to B who’s going to win, right, you can train as much as you want, you got the best coach, the ideal shoes, everything will ever have a chance against the guy on the tricycle, right? You’ve just run a brace by you, right? You would never be able to keep up. And that’s really people don’t understand that, you know, it’s two different paradigms. And you know, there’s the new one is eating the old one for breakfast.
Yeah, I love that. I love that. And so one thing, one more step here. Before I let you go, I’m gonna turn things around a little bit, I’m gonna have you take off your consultant hat for a moment, put on your CEO hat yourself, and what’s the next stage of growth? Or even say, what’s the next stage of sustainable growth look like for you in your business?
Yeah. Well, you know, the reason why I get up in the morning is to get business on the right side of history by becoming a force for good. And, and that’s, for me, it’s really about getting this message out. So I’m really really really happy and you just really, really happy that you to come on shows like this, where you have this massive reach, right? Because what we need is to get this message out to as many people as at all possible so you know, being on shows like this writing all this stuff I do publishing my book, Getting you baps, I might even have a second one I’m sort of tempting to start on a second one and, but also speaking gigs and all of that to just get this message out partnering with more people. So that’s really sort of the game plan. And then because I also do of course, help companies on this specific journey, but instead of doing that one to one I’m I’ve been through a pilot test on a program and now I’m starting to fill up programs where I can do code so business leaders, so taking them through the five step methods that’s also in the book But it means that basically I will be able to handle them in groups of up to 50 of the time. So again, I’m just trying to magnify my reach because unfortunately there’s too few people that really have you know, solidly one leg in business leadership strategy and the other in sustainability economy whatever your disciplines in there so that’s really the critical element is that people don’t reach this very well they are either a specialist in business and hardly know anything on sustainability or the other way around. We assist you never learn it so you got it sort of go through first one and then the other. And unfortunately that not a lot of people have done that. So so my next stage is you know, it’s really my my next growth Leap Year is really about magnifying that will be the the headline fall of this both in what I do with my clients and is just getting the message out and wider spread us as at all possible.
Well, Jasper is so exciting. We’re glad to be a part of that. Can’t wait to see where it goes. If you could tell folks who are listening that have got to know more, we’ve got to know how to do this. We we want to get on the right side of history and and start leveraging some of the tools that he’s talking about here. How can they find more out about you? Where can they get the book? What’s the best next step?
Yeah, well, the book is quite simple. Just go to Amazon or wherever you sort of any of the major ones it’s called Making sustainability profitable. So so just search for that and you will get there. I think the best my preferred sort of platform is LinkedIn, just type Jasper Steinhausen, and there was only one so so so that will be the preferred plan if you really not into LinkedIn but on some of your other social I’ll I’m basically on all of them. So just search. My combination of surname and last name is not that used so I don’t even think there was anybody called Jasper Steinhausen. Other than me, so so so just you can just hit me up in there. And I’ll be happy to chat and to help you see and understand really that you know, if you start turning your company into a force for good, well, that’s basically gonna give you the keys to the world.
Yeah. Excellent. Jasper on that note, thank you so much. So glad to have you here. And for those of you watching listening today, you know your time and attention mean the world to us. I hope you got as much out of this conversation as I know I did, and I cannot wait to see you next time. Take care.
Contact Jasper Steinhausen
Jasper Steinhausen is the founder and CEO of Business With Impact. He is a business consultant and a specialist in making sustainability profitable for SMEs in the manufacturing space. He is an appraised speaker and has presented on the subject of business and sustainability to well beyond 10,000 people ranging from board members and leadership teams to technical staff. He is the longest-running circular economy business consultant in the Nordic countries and has been an advisor for the Danish government on how to accelerate the green transition through their Green Transition Fund.
Want to learn more about Jasper Steinhausen’s work at Business with Impact? Check out his website at https://www.bwimpact.com/ and get a copy of his book at https://www.amazon.com/Making-Sustainability-Profitable-thriving-business-ebook/dp/B0C5FQ2VXX/ref=sr_1_1
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