Become better by building bridges
Working as a sustainability consultant is like being a bridge between two different worlds. Think South Korea and North Korea, Liberal and Labour, atheist and devout Christian. At its essence, sustainability is about pursuing good environmental, good social AND good economic outcomes in parallel. Not a groundbreaking concept in itself, but something which is rarely experienced in modern Western Society. In fact, we seem to be raised to pick sides. “Do you want to be wealthy, or do you want to make a difference?” “Shall we clear forests to keep the cash flowing, or lock them up and accept inevitable economic demise?” These are tough decisions arising from a false dichotomy. With proper visioning, planning and implementation, it should be possible to have both. To be wealthy from making a big difference, to have a prosperous economy in an area with great natural assets.
The irony of the above posturing is that sustainability done well can create wins for all sides of an argument. Business folk spend a significant amount of their annual budget trying to mobilise the hearts and souls of their employees. Environmental and social activists often get poor returns from their time investment due to poorly developed business acumen. Imagine the power of combining the passion of activists with the effectiveness and efficiency arising from modern business practices? In our experience, the best and most exciting work is done when diverse worlds come together in the name of making the world a better place – environmentally, socially and economically.
This article highlights one small example of how business acumen can be used to help leverage better environmental outcomes.