“Not only is it (sustainability) the right thing to do as responsible global citizens, but it’s the right thing for our business.”
Diana Rivenburgh's blog
As you end one year and look forward to the next, what are you hoping for? What vision do you have for your organization, your team and yourself?
After working with clients for years to help them become more sustainable, it becomes clear that the bar should be set much higher. Sustainability implies doing less harm, taking no more from the earth than we can return. What if instead of settling for becoming sustainable, we seek to become vibrant, to thrive, and to flourish?
Too many companies, non-government organizations (NGOs), government agencies and communities still fall into the trap of creating strategies for the future based on what has happened in the past. Scenario planning helps organizations create growth strategies by finding ways to prepare for an increasingly unpredictable future, and can even shape the direction of things to come.
The strategic conversation has shifted. The time has come to realize that obsessing about quarterly results won't build an enduring company. Businesses still just creating three to five year strategic plans miss opportunities and put their organizations at risk.
Nike recently launched a free app available for designers and consumers to use to compare the environmental impacts of various fabrics such as silk, polypropylene, leather, linen and more. Using cotton as a comparison material, users can see ratings under categories of chemistry, water, energy and greenhouse gas emissions, waste, recycled, organic and a basic material score. I’ve downloaded the app and discovered that “the touch, the feel of cotton” gets rather beat up in the scoring. Spandex does even worse since it produces 158% more waste than cotton and silk uses 50% l
More than 1,500 garment workers died and more than 1,000 were seriously injured in three recent highly publicized tragedies in Bangladesh, the collapse of the Rana Plaza and a sweater factory fire in Dhaka in 2013 and the 2012 fire in the Tazreen garment factory. People in these factories work deep within the supply chain of large apparel makers and retailers. Global companies that source their products from Bangladesh have been under extreme pressure to take action that will help avoid such accidents in the future.
The hospitality industry has greatly ramped up sustainability efforts in recent years. Early on hotels found ways to cut costs and operate efficiently by saving water and energy. Today’s efforts are far more sophisticated and cross into every aspect of a hotel from its buildings, laundry, restaurants, golf courses, spas, housekeeping, guest services and technology systems.
As I sit in my home office I hear the thump of a bluebird flying into my window over and over again trying to get into the fichus tree inside. While this keep my cats entertained and off my keyboard, I shake my head thinking “crazy bird; you’re going to get hurt if you keep doing that.”
GreenBiz.com recently launched their sixth annual State of Green Business 2013 report. Partnering with leading research firm, Trucost, this year’s report has enhanced data and a greater global scope. Trucost works to place a value on the natural capital and a price on pollution and use of resources. Many of the companies analyzed report cost savings and greater innovation through better supply-chain resource management.
I recently interviewed Kurt Kuehn, CFO of UPS for my forthcoming book, “The New Corporate Facts of Life” (AMACOM 2013). Kurt described how globalization has impacted the 105 year-old company, and continues to be a key strategic driver for the future. UPS went through a phase of building a global footprint, followed by a phase of adding broader capabilities.
Build the Global Brown Footprint
If we don’t first shift our thinking and reshape our old perspectives, we can’t change behaviors, foster innovation or create new solutions. We must disrupt the very mindsets and behaviors that have lead to current successes in order to continue to be successful.