RISQ Grant: Won!

Thanks to a generous grant from the Réseau d’investissement social du Québec, we’re thrilled to announce the completion of our independantly verified Feasibility Study as well as the detailed technical specifications for the prototype. Thank you, RISQ team!


Grâce à une généreuse subvention du Réseau d’investissement social du Québec (RISQ), nous sommes ravis d’annoncer l’achèvement de notre Rapport de faisabilité et spécifications techniques, validée par des experts indépendants. Merci à l’équipe RISQ!

We Won!

On behalf of the Coop de travailleurs pour des projets d’optimisation d’habitat écologiques, we had the honor to receive the Ose Entreprendre first prize in the Technology and Innovation category for the MRC of Deux-Montagnes. Thank you, Deux-Montagnes, the great staff of the MRC and Mayor of St Eustache Pierre Charron for this inspiring recognition! And also for the nice party!

Tammy Mackenzie, Louis Dionne

Ose Entreprendre competition site: https://www.osentreprendre.quebec/ 

Photo: Beauchamp & Marineau Maître Photographe.

Self Management

(This is a guide. All links are to good quality information, in most cases to studies.)

Self-management is co-created organizational model that differs from collective, hierarchical, or militaristic organizations. It is supported by more than a century of practice and rigorous field and theoretical research in multiple fields. Please follow these links to learn more about organizational empowerment in:

It produces profit and benefits for small  and large enterprises, and is being simultaneously developed in organizations around the world . Regional economies around the world depend on such organizations and skills, from family rice farms in China to much of the economy of Prince Edward Island since the 1970s. in Quebec, the Ministry of the Economy and Innovation (MEI) and many other stakeholders are mobilizing to train and support Quebeckers in these practices.

Some synonyms include: self-management, horizontal management, sociocracy, participatory democracy, agile management.

How it works

Each of us is empowered through qualification process to take any decision to meet a challenge or opportunity for the organization, with a duty to consult.

The duty to consult rests with the decision taker, and they must consult not only with appropriate experts within and outside of the co-operative, but also with any people who may be affected by the decision.

We prioritize our actions as per their effect on the planet, people, and profit. In that order, because without the first we don’t have the next.

In case of conflict, the concerned people have 3 levels of recourse:

  • Taking the time needed to talk it out together
  • Asking a colleague to hear and mediate
  • Ask a council of colleagues to decide

It depends on these assumptions

We trust each other.

People working with us want the organization to succeed in its efforts.

Radical transparency allows people to bring their whole selves to work and in particular fosters the critical feedbacks that feed innovation.

We can reduce work hours, be flexible to the myriad and changing needs of our colleagues.

Sharing resources enriches everyone.

Such organizations require modified resource allocations

  • Salaries and purchasing are set by the person or people concerned
  • Much larger training budget
  • Some people can’t adjust to taking responsibility, but generally people can and do
  • Significantly modified intake process for new colleagues, takes up to 18 months
  • Upstream and Downstream ecological or social considerations take precedence over internal profit considerations
  • More complex to finance – is built around partnerships, particularly instead of traditional supplier/client relationships

They outperform the competition

These models are out-producing their traditionally-run competitors on standard metrics like profit and growth as well as on resilience in the face of change, corporate longevity, client loyalty, and employee retention.

Self-Management is Co-Creation

Developing self-management practices follows a somewhat unique path in each organization, based on the changing needs of the people and the project over time. At Print our Home, it’s a pleasurable and profitable work in progress.

Here are some leads and links to research for further study. We particularly recommend the first set of links, by Fréderic Laloux.


Fréderic Laloux: Summary English http://www.reinventingorganizationswiki.com/Teal_Organizations , Summary French http://4emesinge.com/lemergence-dun-nouveau-paradigme-de-gestion-frederic-laloux/, Book English https://www.amazon.ca/Reinventing-Organizations-Creating-Inspired-Consciousness/dp/2960133501 , Book French http://www.reinventingorganizations.com/fr.html  , Video English https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcS04BI2sbk, Video French https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZKqPoQiaDE&t=154s

Mondragon: http://theconversation.com/the-mondragon-model-how-a-basque-cooperative-defied-spains-economic-crisis-10193

UK Co-ops: https://coopseurope.coop/share-benefits-six-benefits-cooperatives-development

PEI Evangeline region: https://books.google.ca/books?id=hhAjHk845UkC&pg=PR2&lpg=PR2&dq=pei+evangeline+region+cooperatives&source=bl&ots=hF3lC-WISo&sig=odZfS2r989ADQBdcolk6gJxscnk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwib4-q3jqjXAhUIzWMKHb3hA70Q6AEIRzAF#v=onepage&q=pei%20evangeline%20region%20cooperatives&f=false (I have this, just ask: T.)

A great list of follow-up references:


Government / Other :

Similar Models:

Agile: https://www.cio.com/article/3156998/agile-development/agile-project-management-a-beginners-guide.html


House-Printing Machines

A brief glossary of technical terms as well as links to good information are provided at the bottom of the page.

The machines and processes that will change everything tomorrow are more than ever being built in your own community. Makerspaces, repair cafes, fablabs, transition clubs, democratic schools and permaculture workshops are just a few of the spaces where it’s happening, and mostly people are using freely available tools, knowledge, and equipment.

Machines Available for Sale

These are extrusion-based 3d printers that can be used in large-scale automated construction, available for sale or being used to make buildings for sale to a global market. There’s something here for many different projects, climates, and budgets. Some of them are open-source, almost all of them use simple publicly available knowledge and equipment, and some use proprietary materials.

California, Erectorbot: Open-source 3d printer with a large, fast, adaptable extruder which prints filament or converts pellets of various materials on the fly on a giant scalable print area up to 20 x 30 x 10 feet. A standard cartesian model.

Russia, Apis-cor: Using a very sturdy looking polar printer that extrudes from a pivoting central arm, this Russian-American collaboration has a radius of 6.5 meters on the ground and the company have printed this fabulous 132 m2 round yellow house in 1 day, which is among the fastest print time claims in the world. They are offering machine kits for sale, and then they provide a recipe or additives to local concrete producers to allow for quick-drying concrete prints.

South-Carolina, Branch Tech: An architectural firm, they have a scara model on rails that makes particular use of newly identified complex geometries to build skeletal wall structures. Not for sale. They did a design contest 2 years ago to get a house built with their machine, but no other news on a finished building. A really beautiful set of designs is showcased on their site.

Amsterdam, 3D Print Canal House: A group of architects have built a large cartesian model and are working on making solid bio-plastic structural elements for assembly and tests on site. They are also testing other eco-materials for printing. Speed seems a main challenge, and they added a second machine to their projects last year. They invite collaborations.

China, Winsun and other companies: The first to 3d print houses, the controversial Winsun company does not sell nor make public their processes and concrete recipes. They do however sell the mixture, and concrete structures to municipalities in the middle-east. Chinese competitors to Winsun have also emerged, particularly in Shanghai and the northern provinces, working on a variety of processes.

Other groups have made announcements, but are not ready to go to market at this time. Some are controversial.

In Development

Should you be on this list? Let us know!

Multinationals: Stratasys, Makerbot, 3D Systems : These are the larger companies in 3d printing that will likely have an interest in this scale. Expect to see them working with the companies that suit their needs and interests in order to take market share on machine sales.

Montreal, Print Our Home  : A nonprofit group in Montreal, Canada, looking to make sustainable, healthy 3d printed homes available to everyone. Focusing on processes using local and standard eco-materials.

Italy, DeltaWasp: An Italian giant delta model, this machine uses clay on site to build. They appear to be in the final stages of research, and from their mission would seem likely to be open-source.

USA: Contour Crafting: A company in California working with NASA to create a healthy and strong concrete and concrete additives for FDM construction and space applications.

Saskatchewan? … if you’re working on this stuff in Canada, we’ve heard of you but can’t find you online.

Get in touch, if you’d care to work together.

Glossary and Links

Printing technologies at 3dprinting.com. Some related terms:

Extrusion / Fused Deposition Modelling: Thin layers of material are heated and laid out on a surface, then additional layers are added on top of the first to fuse and strengthen together into a detailed sculpture. We can extrude hundreds of materials, from concrete, wood, and metal, to plastic, food, and clothing. Even living cells.

Complex geometries: Researchers are using 3d printing’s capacity to deliver complex shapes for little or no added effort to create super-strong 3d geometries.

Printer types as per all3dp.com, and some related terms:

  • Cartesian: Typically a cube shape, uses x, y, z coordinates and a movable bed
  • Delta: Cylinder with a fast extruder in the center.
  • Polar: Uses polar coordinates, and a circular, spinning bed.
  • Scara: A multi-jointed robot arm with a very small footprint, often runs on rails.

Materials, according to 3dprintingindustry.com, and some related terms:

  • Filament: Extrusion material in long thin threads on spools, to be fed into extruders, which process and deposit them on the print surface.
  • Pellets: Extrusion material provided in pellets, such as metal alloys or plastic composites.
  • Additives: In concrete, meant to increase drying times without compromising strength. May be publicly known or a trade secret.

A note on the media and 3d printing:

Everything is changing very quickly, including a huge reduction in newsroom budgets and a big increase in promotional spending by many small, medium, and mega-large organizations. Take everything with the critical eye it merits, and look to your local maker and repair communities for inspiration on tomorrow’s products.

Automation and Residential Construction in Quebec

by T Mackenzie

Can we build a machine to print houses?

We can. Drawing on existing technologies and materials, we can build a mobile machine that recycles construction waste to print custom houses. The Print our Home team have detailed plans for doing so. However, being able to automate construction raises a second question:

Should we?

On production cost savings alone, automation is widely held to be inevitable in the current market structure (McKinsey Global Institute).  Yet a process that stands to affect 18.9% (CCQ) of the Quebec workforce and that aims to significantly reduce building costs is a machine that will have a profound social effect.


The construction workers and engineers of Quebec are global leaders. In order to remain so, we must adapt. Expertise and experience with large-scale automation and green building technologies are a viable focus for our workforce, our industries, and our training centers.

In addition, construction automation benefits individual workers by reducing the cost of a home by tens of thousands of dollars – up to 35% off a new home with certain techniques. At average prices and mortgage rates in the suburbs of Montreal, this can represent $ 150,000 or more per family over 25 years.


Above all we consult with and respect the needs of the people who may be affected, such as: investors, family and friends, local communities, Kahnienkehaka, Anishanaabe, other First Nations communities, and all others, in a spirit of equity.

We have found that automation and processes related to “Industry 4.0” has other social benefits.  They relieve labor shortages, improve the health and safety of job sites, and allow small businesses the economies of scale previously only available to large companies.

We consider the possible effects of our decisions on people and on the planet. We integrate our projects into the local community, to the mutual and long-term benefit of everyone in our region. (To do so, Print our Home have undertaken a long-term data-based and philosophical study of the effects of our technologies and activities: Discussion: Automation and Quality of Life in Quebec). 

The Environment

The demands of planetary stewardship require innovation, too. Thankfully, there is a growing body of research and real world examples of the tools needed to transition to a sustainable economy.

How do we do it right?

What new tools? Do they still satisfy financial bottom lines? Solutions are emerging, things such as full cost accounting (HRH Global Accounting Initiative, Bookkeepers Can Save the World), reduced work weeks (Forbes), basic Income pilot projects in multiple countries (Toronto Star), self-management, and robust open information and maker movements that are rocket-fuelling innovation.(Open Source Hardware Association, Baylor University)

The choices involved in technology are, in the end, the same as in other human endeavors: Can automated construction be done? Yes. Can it serve our needs? Yes. It comes, and we get to drive.

Bookkeepers Can Save the World (A How-To Guide)

1. the quality of being fair and impartial. “equity of treatment”. Synonyms: fairness, justness, impartiality, egalitarianism
2. the value of the shares issued by a company. “he owns 62% of the group’s equity” Synonyms: value, worth; ownership, rights, proprietorship
“he owns 25% of the equity in the property”

Double-entry bookkeeping is a simple and powerful mathematical tool.  With it, we accountants can establish as clear a picture as we can want of the growth of a project, its shape, its operations, its relationships, and it’s likely futures. Yet, as individuals and as a profession, we often give little thought to the assumptions that underlie our choices – about what we choose to count, about why we do it, about our power in these endeavors. At its most benign, this is partially because social responsibility doesn’t necessarily rear its head in B.Comm programs, and partially from a well-deserved reputation for preferring things neat, organized, balanced, cleared. Yet the world is changing, and out there are activists who find the trappings of money and power abhorrent. They are rejecting the system in which most of us work, and they are absolutely correct to do so. They are also rejecting administrators as a class, as lackeys to the rich, and they are (so far) also absolutely correct to do so. Arguments can be made that business owners have a responsibility to act to reverse climate change. But what then of we Keepers of the Records, the creators of reports and plans, the jugglers of resources? Can our tools and skills brought to bear on the questions of human extinction? Should they?

Accounting records comprise the oldest known disposable records kept by people.  They were marks on clay tablets in Sumer, ancient Iraq in 4000 b.c., used to issue receipts for sheep or barrels of beer. As trade developed over the next 5 millenia, so too did record keeping and, in time, double-entry bookkeeping.  This system allowed for the equation of assets minus liabilities to equal a tradeable and taxable value for the company, shared equitably as reported on a Balance Sheet, as well as to take into account the effect of recent operations, listed in a Profit and Loss Statement, which shows information on Sales minus Direct Costs and Expenses.

Today, the Balance Sheet and the Profit and Loss Statement comprise what we call company reports. A complete picture of the costs and benefits of actions over a given period of time, and the effect of those actions on the value of the organization engaged in them. Now, consider that climate change has been caused by a remarkably huge overuse of resources, and disregard for waste.  Instead, we account for only the last paid dollar cost of items, and their profit margin at the next transfer of ownership. This fails entirely to take into account the full social and environmental costs of our activities, with items wrongly classed as externalities in what is a permanently closed system. As a consequence of this narrow view of costs and revenue, very few business models in the western economies are sustainable. In fact, the very most ecological organizations in our culture rely on an infrastructure that would require 4 planets for their sustenance, were the folly to spread to the rest of the world. (Which it has. It isn’t cute how excited they are?) The activities of our organizations, improperly recorded at their true costs, have brought the world to this brink, and with it of course those organizations we are meant to steward. 

Facing this simple conclusion – that we’ve been counting wrong, that we’ve been giving our clients and bosses terrible advice – is the work of rational administrators in this century.

We are beginning to see the result of 300 or so years of industrial revolution. In some measure, it’s the crowning achievement of humankind. It opened the door to general literacy, pluralism, social cohesion and scientific advances the likes of which could not have been imagined by people just a few generations earlier, nor by others back some 200,000 years. (See Britannica.com’s Industrial Revolution  for a partial treatment of the subject.)

However, the system which was designed to create these benefits has a fatal flaw: it allows people, and Incorporated People, to dispose of resources with no immediate penalty, differing the loss to an undefined and uncertain future.  When the consequences are in our hands, we know that that is an irrational model. For example, we teach children that if they break something, it doesn’t always get replaced. Or, well, we probably should.

Like all tools, bookkeeping is driven by the will of its wielders. The methods themselves are neutral tools, and can be leveraged by accountants and administrators to create sustainable systems.  Powerful groups comprised of world leaders are working on how to reform accounting, and to find models that will allow for social and natural capital to be accounted at their true values, as well as setting standards for comparing organizations and moving resources through trade markets.  For individual organizations, frameworks exist to do these types of analyses, the broadest of which is called “Triple Bottom Line Accounting”.

These full-cost accounting frameworks and newly minted methods acknowledge that we don’t cover every cost and benefit by controlling only at the bank and cash accounts, and that some factors are ignored or deferred in such a reconciliation. For example, the cost of healthcare for fired factory employees, 10 years down their path of poverty, or the uncounted benefits derived from a successful social outreach campaign. In order to properly account for these activities and their effects on the ecological and social systems on which the organization depends, we add to the traditional bottom line of profit two other measures of value: social, and environmental, we expand our calculations of financial factors to include mid- and long-term contingencies, and we brace ourselves for working in the complex metrics of saving the world.

The triple bottom lines: Profit, Planet, and People.

Many great people are working on standards and methodologies to implement full-cost accounting. While they get along with that, here is a working model for bookkeepers. You can scroll down to the end to check out some other models in section 3 of this guide. 

How to Establish Full-Cost Accounting

Just like when we set up the financial accounts of a company, we must determine which social and environmental factors to account for as per the unique activities of the organization, establish control measures to ensure the accuracy, relevancy, and continuity of the data, design budgets that cover (all) the costs of our activities, and report on results.

  1. Work in the right organization
  2. Form a team
  3. Identify the factors to be tracked
  4. Set values, targets, and contingency plans
  5. Reporting
  6. Ethics

1. Work in the right organization

If you want to put your efforts into an organization that is working towards the long-term success and survival of yourself and your community, there are two ways to do it: you can build that organization where you are, or you can change organizations.

To stay in place:

  • Spend some time considering your proposal to the people who would be involved in a switch to rational accounting.
  • Write out budgets and recruit or quote experts to make your case
  • Take into account all stakeholders

If you decide that you need to make a change:

  • Look for partners or an employer who like to do things properly.
  • Spend some time working on a few industry-specific full-cost accounting models
  • Collect expert opinions and references

2. Form a team

Once you’re in the right place, set up committees made up of people who know how the organization works. 3 to 7 people are ideal, and groups should be representative of the skills in the organization as well people’s cultures and social power. If necessary, multiple committees can be formed and the tasks separated among them.  

These people will be responsible for:

  • Identifying the factors to be tracked
  • Setting targets and contingency plans for each factor
  • Establishing the value of factors to be tracked
  • Reporting to stakeholders
  • Taking action on weaknesses and successes
  • Getting expert advice

Guiding Staff:

As a manager, you will need to communicate information as well as provide training and empowerment in these new and important measures.  Our collective survival is at risk, and discussions which deal with that risk in a rational way are frequently traumatic, particularly during this time of transition, and for quite a few people who haven’t necessarily been thinking about it at all. Thankfully, the fastest way to produce equity in a company is to start with the people most closely involved, and the effects are immediately positive, psychologically and financially, throughout affected supply chains.

Consider the following actions:

  • Information and training sessions on new social and environmental measures
  • Offer social and psychological support with regards to climate change and uncertain economic times, including shared social occasions for staff members and their families
  • Establish channels by which all interested persons can identify and set metrics to do with social and environmental costs, risks, and benefits
  • Link performance bonuses to full-cost results
  • Establish a retirement plan and other shared social safety nets such as local food buying clubs, skill-shares, and flexible, reduced work hours.

3. Identify the factors to be tracked

As in traditional bookkeeping, the goal of full-cost accounting is to account for every factor that may touch on the organization’s ability to continue to fulfill its mandates. Each organization is unique, but here are a few good ways to be sure to cover all possible factors.

Be Brave.

People have been doing an incomplete job in accounting for the true costs of their work. We have to fix it, and they aren’t going to like what it does to their reports.  But we do have to fix it, because otherwise climate change will win. Be brave. You got this.

Recognize good factors

The factors you choose to measure need to meet the same qualifications for good information as we use in standard bookkeeping, as per the FASB’s Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. What may seem striking when looking them over is that we’ve as a profession managed to exclude all these social environmental factors using these excellent (though possibly incomplete) principles.

From Accounting.com:

  1. Principle of Regularity – Adhere to GAAP rules and regulations as a standard.
  2. Principle of Consistency – Apply the same standards throughout the reporting process, and fully disclose and explain the reasons behind any changed or updated standards.
  3. Principle of Sincerity – Strive to provide an accurate depiction of a company’s financial situation.
  4. Principle of Permanence of Methods –   The procedures used in financial reporting are consistent.
  5. Principle of Non-Compensation – Both negatives and positives are fully reported with transparency and without the expectation of debt compensation.
  6. Principle of Prudence – Emphasizes fact-based financial data representation that is not clouded by speculation.
  7. Principle of Continuity – While valuing assets, it is assumed the business will continue to operate.
  8. Principle of Periodicity – Entries are distributed across the appropriate periods of time.
  9. Principle of Materiality / Good Faith – Accountants must strive for full disclosure in financial reports.
  10. Principle of Utmost Good Faith – Presuppose that all parties remain honest in transactions.

From this general basis, you move on to establishing the social and environmental factors specific to your situation.

Consider the following social measures and initiatives:

  • Employee needs
  • Responsibilities to clients or other beneficiaries
  • Supplier and supply chain processes
  • Local community needs
  • Regional and Global community needs

Consider that environmental measures and initiatives frequently include:

  • Human health
  • Sustainability
  • Waste elimination (a particularly interesting area for revenue capture.)
  • Climate change mitigation

Note that many social and environmental factors can’t be monetized for accounting purposes. In these cases, notes to the annual report provide context for other analytical models, for example: ethical foundations or life-cycle analysis, often linked to key performance indicator and specific piloting measures.  Financial contingencies can also be registered in a number of ways, depending on the model used (see the list of models, below).

Lists, templates, and models:

Large corporations use formal models. Small and medium company bookkeepers can use these as a basis from which to consider changes to current systems. The level of analysis required is the same as for other bookkeeping decisions. 

Full-Cost Frameworks:

Global Reporting Initiative

Sustainability Accounting Standards Board

Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative – Guidance on Reporting

Database of best-in-class and best-in-year sustainability reports with dozens of examples

Mainly Social measures:

International Standards Organization – ISO 26000

Demonstratingvalue.org – Social Costs Worksheet

Care International / NEF Consulting – Simplified Guidelines for Social Cost-Benefit Analysis

of Climate Change Adaptation Projects on a Local Scale

Investopedia – Marginal Social Cost

Mainly Environmental measures:

Network For Business Sustainability – Measuring and Valuing Environmental Impacts

United Nations – Environmental Reporting

Study your GL accounts

Ask what social or environmental factors should be measured and improved for each account.  Here are a few points to consider for some common accounts:

Bank Accounts: paper statements, interest rates, bank or credit union’s reputation, working to support a local credit union, examining payment methods, payment delays, cash flow and seasonal habits, telecommuting for accounting staff.

Accounts Receivable: payment habits of clients, number of clients, location of clients, mailing methods, collection methods, alternative payment options, bad debt procedures, creative partnerships.

Investments: Choose mutual funds by detailed examination, invest in local progress, invest in partnerships. Measure long-term social returns. Measure long-term environmental returns. Plant trees.

Capital Assets: environmental examination of each asset, including history, current use, and complete future. Social examination of each asset, including history, current use, and complete future. Correct problems. Make reparations for the past. Establish a rational future acquisitions policy. Share. Borrow. Help others build.

Short Term Liabilities: Payment habits to suppliers. Relationships with government agencies. Location of suppliers. Supplier activities. Choosing forward-thinking partners.

Equity: Who owns the organization? Who benefits when stock prices go up? Who loses? What happens to the planet? Who benefits and who loses when the organization makes more revenue? And less revenu? Who benefits and who loses when the organization has more expenses, or fewer?

Sales: What are we selling? To who? Why? How? Is the price fair? To whom, and how? Full life-cycle cost and benefits analysis. If an item, what is its future? If a service, it’s effect?  

Funding: From who, and why? How to measure any differences between their wants and your values? Establish methods to define and refine organizational values, under formal yet accessible processes.  Keep clear records and good open communication. Check transparency. Help others form similar relationships.

Purchasing: What are we buying, from who, and where, and how. Supplier comportment. Full life-cycle environmental and social details of items and all component materials. Identify component materials. Research supply chains. Share resources with others in your industry.

Salaries: How much more is one human worth than another? Freedom of speech and other human rights within the organization. Offer a multitude of learning opportunities. Retain aging employees with pensions.

Transport: Methods of transport, their environmental costs, the necessity of each. Activities of the transport and courier companies. Best practices. Establishing partnerships and cooperative efforts. Logistics, global procurement, slave trade industries (https://www.cfr.org/modern-slavery). 

Telecom: Origins and life-cycle of equipment. Reputations of providers. Internal contingencies. Resource sharing.

Publicity and Promotion: Who is the target market? Should they be? Age, social status, nature of the offering? Are the copy and media true? Is the media appropriate? If printed, what is the life-cycle of the materials? Can we be an industry example?

Insurance: Reputation of providers. Consult an independent actuary. Consider partnerships to mitigate uninsured risks. Set up contingency funds for climate change. Set up employee retirement and health plans (or a retirement community).

4. Set values, targets, and contingency plans

Once identified, each of the social and environmental factors that will affect your organization must be considered in detail, with help from experts as appropriate. 


For most factors, there will be multiple and varied costs and benefits, with money being only one among many possible measures.  Each should be considered within the whole of a factor as well as on its own, and listed where appropriate in the company statements.


Improvements can be instant or progressive and in either case targets need to be clearly identified. In the case of progressive goals, periodic targets should be set, so that progress can be tracked. One method for this process in the use of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Contingency Plans

Targets won’t always be met. Targets and periodic targets should be linked to contingency plans, which are actions to take if the targets aren’t met.

Some factors may be contingent on others. Written plans should be passed forward in time. It is not unreasonable, for example, to plant trees today for use in renovating a manufacturing facility meant to stand a hundred years or more.

A Case Study

Here is a study on breaking factors into working measures. In brackets are the expected consequences, ordered by relative magnitude.

A publishing company has established that their ink, though the most ecological available, is transported from very far away, and is manufactured in a country with poor worker rights. They have decided to correct the situation in two ways. They want to train their workers abroad to work in their digital department as they phase out ink purchases, and fund local innovation in new inks. Taken as two factors:

Factor 1: Training Abroad

  • People promoted through the training program per year should be 50% of all employees year 1, then 25% of the remainder in successive years.  If quarterly targets aren’t being met, HR needs to consult with the worker committee and local experts to correct (increased social assets, lowered training costs over time)
  • Surveys of the people every 6 months for 10 years to see how the program is developing (increased social assets, fiscal expense per year for the surveys)
  • Training fund (expense, diminishing fiscal liability over time, decrease in future training costs)
  • Fossil fuel use reduction (reduces environmental costs, increases social assets, reduces cost)
  • Publicity in 3 outlets (increases revenues, increases social assets)
    • social media
    • national morning shows, 3 show target
    • get exit polls (increases expenses)
    • green movement

Factor 2: Local Innovation

Work with local development funds to sponsor passionate young ink makers (improved environmental situation, increased cost, increased social assets)

5. Reporting


Much like traditional transactions included in net profit, social and environmental measures can be ongoing or discrete, and be measured both over time and at a given period in time.  

Some examples:

Given expected health and social correlations, an ongoing social factor to consider might be employee happiness. Periodic targets could be to see increases in happiness at regularly scheduled reporting dates. There are a number of tools used by industrial psychologists to measure these soft factors. Annual reports might show happiness as measured at year end, along with the changes accomplished in the current year.

Given the broad benefits of waste-loop management, ongoing environmental factors might include something such as tons of waste from operations, in which targeted and continuously reducing amounts would be budgeted for and reported on as appropriate.

Given that it affects half of the population and all of their dependents, a common social factor might be to achieve gender parity by a certain date.

Annual reports then show if the target was met, and include a comprehensive report of costs and benefits of initiatives as they are incurred.

Discrete environmental factors are likely to include projects to correct or improve current ecological miscalculations. Given their likely particular effect on capital planning, for instance in the capital costs of installing solar panels, which will also affect maintenance and energy expenses going forward.

In accounting for these newly recognized factors, we have to expand our traditional notions in two ways:

Units of Measure

In social and environmental journals, though we account for any financial effects into the GL, measures are not necessarily monetary nor precise, and some factors must be tracked on unique parameters, via careful record-keeping. Though entries may be non-monetary (number of people retrained, number of kilowatts generated), we do retain the double-entry principle as its control functions for confirming information are invaluable. Thus, most models test the validity of information for both sides of all non-monetary entries, rather like entering a cheque from a bank account. One source (a cheque) is sufficient to create an entry, but a control function for verifying  the information needs to be put in place (the bank reconciliation), to independently confirm accuracy. An equivalent function must be planned for information needed for each non-monetary factor.


Reports drawn uniquely from 3 years of bank records are not only much too narrow, current records are much too short. They can guide us in measuring the future by only about 3 years, and that very imperfectly. The people involved in an organization have a lifespan of closer to 85 years, with likely 20 to 65 or more years ahead of them – years in which to work towards improving their lives and their communities. And it isn’t only employees who are disserved by short-term planning. Small corporate partners will last 10 to 20 years, the larger entities upwards of 100 years. The products and materials you use may have a lifespan that makes them toxic for 5 human generations, or 10, or 50. Our economic system itself has an expiration date, and every single stakeholder has an interest likely to last 10 years at the absolute minimum. Consequently, failing to take into account long-term factors is a malfeasance. It is understood that financial information is not reasonably predictable in grand detail. But what we can predict, we must, whether in money or not, even if it is only a single item in a far right column:

Year 1: Switch to eco-suppliers
Year 3: Finish staff retraining
Year 6: Entire product line recycled after-market
Year 15: Zero dollars on energy at facilities.
Year 20: Open senior day center for retired workers

From the mindset of taking into account the full range of factors affecting an organization, we leverage every bit of modern technology and brainpower that we can find, and we set up the custom systems that each of our social and environmental factors requires.  When we find financial liability, we fearlessly report it to the financial statements. When we find financial opportunities, we do the same.

Financial Reporting

Functionally, many models clear social and environmental costs and benefits through balance sheet accounts such as:

Social Assets
Community Assets
Environmental Assets
Long Term Assets
Natural Assets

Social Liabilities
Community Liabilities
Environmental Liabilities
Long Term Liabilities
Natural Liabilities

Social Equity
Community Equity
Environmental Equity
Long Term Equity
Natural Equity

Revenues earned and expenses incurred for social and environmental initiatives are treated as other revenues and expenses in the financial reports, though they should be clearly identified, particularly when calculating amortizations.

Non-Financial Reporting

Separate factor-by-factor ledgers and reports for each social or environmental factor being tracked are kept, drawing in large part from project management methods and tools. Good documentation is vital, as are clear schedules and expectations over time.  Financial effects and budgets should be included, and kept synchronous with financial reports.

6. Ethics

In our accounting training, we’re taught that there are two ethical ways to do the job.  The first is the letter of the law, with a bias for public intent. It’s the one that our cost models have replaced with computers. The second is the letter of the law, with a search on behalf of clients for the best options. Outside of government, that is the model that professionals work with. Not alone among my colleagues, I propose this third possibility: a full-cost model as an extension of the spirit of our profession. This is to help stakeholders understand a true state of affairs, and with that understanding, enable us to shape a solid future together. What were once dismissed as “externalities” must be accounted for in good stewardship, and doing so can save the world.

Enjoy your work.

(Be brave!)

The Responsibilities of Business Owners in the Questions of Human Extinction

By T Mackenzie, on Poupart.Farm

The original version of this article has been  accepted at http://www.poupart.farm/ and we’re really honoured and excited. The version française is available here on our blog, with our apologies for any errors.

“We have as a culture accepted that experts in social questions, in government or out, can be trusted to act in our best interests, and that against every piece of historical fact or evidence. They act in their own self-interest, that of the very small, very rich minority in charge of governments. That interest is in keeping the status quo, this situation that is going to kill us. Far from outsourcing our critical thinking to a narrow caste, “educated” in the extraordinarily selfish and shortsighted views of a hero-myth in which they and only they can save us, we must instead be giving the tools and information to make those decisions to absolutely everyone, and promoting cooperation towards useful ends, and that as urgently as humanly possible.”

Recycling at Home

This machine, affordable at 500 USD and about the size of a breadbox, recycles household plastic into filament to use in desktop 3d printers. We want to do the same with our machine, using construction waste that we transform as much as possible on site.  In part this is to limit transport costs – vital to setting up sustainable methods – but it also eliminates storage, and most importantly reuses materials currently meant for landfill.

In English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IRFtNS5G7E