Market Transformation Methodology

The California Sustainability Alliance’s over-arching goal is market transformation—or the voluntary adoption of sustainability principles and practices by all types of public and private organizations into all facets of California’s policies, programs and businesses.

The Alliance achieves market transformation by providing a dynamic forum for unprecedented cooperation among diverse public and private organizations in the joint development and implementation of strategies for overcoming sustainability barriers. By working hard to find alignment among the diverse needs and interests of these organizations, the Alliance is able to leverage collective resources, assets and relationships to make sustainability both the right choice and the only choice. It is through this broad portfolio of collaborative action that California’s visionary energy and environmental goals have the highest likelihood of success.

In addition to providing a comprehensive infrastructure for supporting early adopters, the Alliance recruits thought leaders to share their ideas about the most important things that need to happen to overcome the primary barriers to sustainability in each sector targeted for sustainability. Our structured approach to overcoming barriers in each targeted sector is described below.


programs chart
Identify Targeted Sectors: First, we identify sectors with significant untapped sustainability benefits.

Identify & Qualify Barriers: We then conduct market research and interview key stakeholders to identify and qualify the primary barriers to sustainability in each of the targeted sectors. Expert advisors are invited to join the Alliance in addressing these barriers. These seasoned advisors provide technical review and, when needed, assistance breaking log-jams created by resistant policies, rules and regulations.

Identify Transformative Initiatives: With the assistance of our expert advisors, we look “outside the box” for the most important things we should do in each sector to precipitate widespread adoption of sustainability. These are our Transformative Initiatives.
Pilot Test: Our next step is to recruit innovative organizations to help us assess the effectiveness of the Transformative Initiatives. This approach allows us to test theories and ideas in a real-world setting, providing the opportunity to re-evaluate and refine strategies. During the course of pilot-testing, we deploy a wide variety of models, tools and techniques. If what we need does not yet exist, we build upon, adapt or create new strategies, models, tools and techniques. Everything we learn and develop through the pilots is captured within our Toolkits.
Develop Sustainability Program Blueprint: The sustainability value proposition– the benefits and costs of sustainability – will be shared through case studies. Successful approaches will be widely disseminated to pilot participants’ peers and competitors in each through a combination of information, training, education and direct assistance. Concurrently, we provide on-going support and recognition of early adopters who come forward to lead transformation of their markets. Continuous recognition of early adopters and innovative strategies will itself lead to a sustainable program for the Alliance.


The California Context

The Alliance program was designed to achieve California’s ambitious policy goals in the most efficient, economic and sustainable way possible. California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) established the overarching policy context for California’s resource and environmental initiatives. However, greenhouse gas reduction alone cannot achieve “sustainability”- the goals of resource efficiency and waste reduction also need to be considered in the context of the human environment.

These diverse initiatives inevitably compete for time, attention and funds

The Alliance’s holistic approach embraces the state’s comprehensive policies, ranging from the joint agency Energy Action Plan, which identified energy savings as the most important energy goal, to aggressive development of renewable energy, adoption of “smart growth” (transit oriented) development principles, reduced reliance on fossil fuel transportation options, reduction of waste streams, and efficient use of water resources.

Detailed information on these policies and what they mean for implementers, business and industry can be found within our programs pages. (Please see the sidebar to the left to explore these pages.)