INTERVIEW WITH Ivan Ginsberg
Can a company be economically profitable and, at the same time, ecologically sustainable? According to Ivan Ginsberg, owner and General Director of Living Wealth, it is not only possible, but necessary! Based on his experience, 30% of resources are wasted by firms. By improving the efficiency in the use of their resources, firms can be both more ecologically and economically sustainable. What is ‘Living Wealth?’ What kind of services does it offers? What are the economic benefits of a business which undergoes an eco-sustainable program? Ivan Ginsberg answered to these and other questions.
Ivan GINSBERG: Ivan Ginsberg is the Managing Director of Living Wealth. Ivan has achieved a diploma within Sales and Marketing, as well as Financial Advising. He gained 10 years of experience within large-scale furniture manufacturing. n 1990 Ivan joined the Financial Services Industry as a Financial Advisor for a leading insurance provider and in 2004 launched his own Financial Services Consultancy – Ginsberg Financial Services. Before the launch of Living Wealth in June 2008, Ivan had been active in the development of what has culminated as the revolutionary service Living Wealth now offers. His initial intention was to assist clients to achieve the two fold benefits of Zero Ecological Footprint and Sustained Profitable Business Efficiency.
Living Wealth: it is a social enterprise. Although it operates for profit, its products and services are designed to reduce energy consumption and therefore have a direct and positive impact on the environment. Living Wealth’s approach is very innovative: it has all the benefits of a spend management programme but it also measures actual energy consumption rather than the standard, budget focused approach. This not only results in the generation of savings and increased cost control but also ensures Living Wealth’s clients moves towards environmental sustainability.
INTERVIEw - (April 2015)
The interview was made in April 2015 and published in May 2015
Subject: Living Wealth – how can a business be both ecologically and economically sustainable
Social Entrepreneur to me is someone who puts the community at large first and looks for ways to contribute in a meaningful way.
Living Wealth applies the principle of behavior economics to effect change to improve the use of resources in the production of goods and services..
Our findings to date have illustrated to us a percentage of around 30 % of the resources used to add no value to the product or service which equates in our view to unnecessary environmental damage , higher cost to the end user and lower profits for companies.
Question 1: Hi Ivan, thank you for being with us. You are defined as a ‘social entrepreneur.’ Please could you explain to us what does it mean?
Social Entrepreneur to me is someone who puts the community at large first and looks for ways to contribute in a meaningful way while still being in a position to earn a living from the service he or she provides.
Question 2: Before launching your initiative, ‘Living Wealth’ in 2008, you had been working for more than 20 years in manufacturing and in financial services sectors. Could you tell us what pushed you to found a company focused in making other businesses more eco-sustainable?
I was exposed to the teaching of the Natural Step in 2008 which gave me a good understanding of how our business and social activities specifically excluded sustainability from their objectives and it did not make sense to me.
Question 3: So Let’s talk more in details about your company ‘Living Wealth.’ What is Living wealth? What are its principles and what kind of services it offers to its clients.
Living Wealth is an organization comprising of people with unique skills. Living wealth applies the principle of behavior economics to effect change to improve the use of resources in the production of goods and services. The World Business Council for sustainable development advocates the use of an Eco efficiency ratio to measure performance in the use of resources against turnover and services. Our improvements are designed to have a triple bottom line impact. The services we provide our clients eco efficiency audit, baseline analysis, workshops, consulting and program oversight.
Question 4: Why an enterprise should choose to be more ‘eco-friendly?’ What are its economic benefits? Do you think the ecological spirit in businesses is something that should be pushed and incentivized or it is something destined to grow by itself?
We establish a direct correlation between ecological and economic benefits harnessing the natural energy of a business to drive better performance and improvements. Our program is self funded , self managed and designed to create internal momentum within a company for continuous improvement through the spreading of our eco active virus to which there is not cure
Question 5: Your company is based in South Africa. Compared to other countries is there much necessity to be an eco-friendly firm?
We have found South Africa to be a tough proving ground for our Eco Active program as firms are not naturally Eco friendly and therefore expansion to the rest of the world who are far more proactive in the eco active forum we would see our program to have an easier route to international uptake .
Question 6: Is there some sectors where the ecological footprint is higher than in others?
An ecological footprint cannot be equated in that way in order to provide a yes or no answer, however our findings to date have illustrated to us a percentage of around 30 % of the resources used to add no value to the product or service which equates in our view to unnecessary environmental damage , higher cost to the end user and lower profits for companies.
Question 7: Can you give us some examples of companies which, thanks to your advice, have been able to both grow economically and reduce their ecological footprint?
To demonstrate results achieved to date I am attaching some relevant figures from some of our recent assignments.
African Hotels & Adventures
Hotel 1:Electricity expenditure.................-20%
Hotel 2:Gas expenditure.........................-28%
Hotel 3:Cleaning products......................-58%
Hotel 3:Hotel amenities...........................-8%
Hotel 4:Measured consumables................-19%
Hotel 4:Printing and stationery costs........-55%
Hotel 4:Paper consumption....................-30%
Cape Seniors Association
Ink cartridges expenditure.....................-34%
Waste to landfil.....................................-7%
Above reductions were achieved over a 12 month period with no capital expenditure by the companies involved. This was human behavior changes to the way they use resources.
Question 8: Do you intend to expand your activity in other markets? What do you think are the markets where the demand for social entrepreneurship is increasing more?
Yes, we do intend to expand to other markets. Organizations and people who value and appreciate the need for behaving responsibility to ensure a sustainable environment on our planet.