Friday, July 06, 2007

More Business Focused Babble about "Sustainability"


The articles I receive as part of the WBCSD newsletters really are great, and renew my hope that businesses are continuing to take action on climate change and embracing the triple bottom line of CSR/ESG.

From The Financial Times, There's Money to be Made in Them There Green Ideas
While the focus on carbon brings its own problems, Mr Beloe sees it as the precursor to the mainstreaming of sustainability, a process he believes resembles the way that IT moved from its silo in the 1990s to the centre of business models.

"The same will happen with climate change and, ultimately, with environmental issues more broadly," he says. "Climate change is a precursor of a bigger agenda, which is about the environment as a whole."
I added the emphasis.

Is this a good thing? Doesn't "mainstream" mean sell-out, mass production, economies of scale? Well, sometimes. Even if it does, mainstreaming something that in many ways flies in the face of what the mainstream is all about can only be a good thing. Would it somehow make mass consumerism gain a social conscience? Perhaps.

One could argue that sustainability will be the next great consumer product and/or business management trend that is taken up, beaten to death, and discarded into the dust bin of used-to-be-cutting-edge business books. It could also be the evolution of what have been called environmental management systems and quality control systems; a fusion, if you will, of Six Sigma with ISO 14000 or Lean Manufacturing with the EH&S office. Isn't that what it is? It's more than that, but I like the idea of thinking of sustainable business as the fusion of what have been separate systems. It's systems thinking.

We can save ourselves, the planet, and business.

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