"Wal-Mart believes that sustainability might be “the biggest strategy of the decade or of the next 40 to 50 years."
Sustainability is the new frontier. As powerful as the information age, this mega-trend of sustainability means redefining business models, processes, systems, products and services.
Sustainability is one of the greatest business opportunities of our time. Companies that embrace sustainability find new ways to make money, save money, create new products and services, build greater brand loyalty, enter new markets, and attract talent.
Sustainability is a key driver of innovation. The sustainable lens provides a new way of looking at products, services, processes, consumers and the value chain in ways that foster tremendous innovation.
Sustainability is about strategy and leadership and culture. Turning strategy into reality requires fostering key cultural traits such as engagement, collaboration, innovation, the ability to execute and leadership at all levels.
A Rapidly Changing World
We cannot apply the practices of the past to the realities of today and to the future that is rapidly emerging. The societal and organizational structures of the past are in turmoil as if about to be crumbled by an earthquake. Our planet, our economy and our societies are in jeopardy as the earth moves below us threatening even more change and challenges. To add to this, we are also facing unprecedented global economic challenges. The "age of denial" has come to a screeching halt.
New Ways are Needed
What's needed is a new way of thinking and leading. Organizations need to view the world differently. Many organizations have already figured out that integrating sustainability into their strategies and practices isn't just a good thing to do, but it can also have a return on investment. Companies that do this well can make money, save money, create new products and services, enter new markets, build better brand image and customer loyalty and attract and retain the best talent. Some refer to it as the triple bottom line for "people, profit and planet."
Dispelling the Great "Trade-Off" Myth
There is a mistaken belief that being environmentally and socially responsible must cost more. On the contrary, there are tremendous opportunities to gain from integrating sustainability and corporate social responsibility into strategy, operations and culture. This goes beyond philanthropy and compliance and being a good corporate citizen. Businesses can generate greater profitability and brand loyalty, drive innovation, engage the workforce and attract the best talent. Universities and colleges that integrate sustainability throughout their practices, infrastructure and curriculum raise their reputation by turning out graduates that organizations want to hire. Communities are better run and are desirable places to live and work.
Leveraging Sustainable Practices
Those that infuse sustainability and innovation into their strategies and organizations change the rules of the game. They lead rather than follow the competition. Sustainability is the most important component of organizational strategy for decades to come. We are headed toward a tipping point when sustainable value creation is the norm. There are a number of levels of sustainability that range from being unsustainable up to leading the way.
- Leads the way
- Does less harm
Who needs to be more sustainable?
- Educational Institutions
- Social Enterprises
- Government Contractors
- Professional Associations
- All of Us