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Posts Tagged ‘sustainability culture’

For centuries, humanity has focused on what Paul Hawken called the Take-Make-Waste model. Take what Nature has created in our Biosphere. Make what you want without regard to being a good Steward and replant to grow future resources. And last, but worst, create Waste that is not recycled nor repurposed.

This practice has last for millennia. It has crossed almost all cultures. It has been practiced in agrarian, as well as, industrial societies.  It has occurred in Communist countries with little or no environmental regulations, to Capitalistic societies who often push back on environmental regulations.

But what has the been the cost? That varies from region to region. The sort answer is the loss of the Biosphere that may not be replicated or recovered from poor practices. In a changing world economy, all resources are precious. Can we still embrace the Take-Make-Waste model? Read what is an example in China: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141218081008.htm

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“It isn’t just the low-hanging fruit we go after.” ~Ray C. Anderson
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I have read that the Chinese symbol for crisis is union of 2 characters. In Chinese, ”crisis” is an interesting word and is derived from DANGER and OPPORTUNITY.  Whether it is true may be debatable, but in any transformation, executives must be open to new ideas and wisely choose people who will be a catalysts for change. Sustainability is a new mindset.  This new mindset promotes ethics, promotes stewardship recognizing that our planet has limited resources, and ultimately promotes elimination of natural and man-made waste. Therefore, the danger is the reduction or eradication of our biosphere in the next 30 years or the opportunity to preserve our planet for this generations and future generations.

Ray C. Anderson was the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Interface, a global modular carpet company. He was also the first Sustainability pioneer who awakened to the fact that our business paradigms are based on a take-make-waste model. This model, created by Paul Hawkens, demonstrates how most businesses create revenue from poor business practices without considering any environmental impact and exploits society.  It rewards short-term performance without acknowledging long-term consequences.

As a pioneer and visionary, he recognized his short-sightedness and selected a team to help him transform his enterprise.  Anderson searched, not for one expert, but a team of experts to address his corporation’s needs (Dr. Michael Braungart, Bill McDonough, Paul Hawken, L. Hunter Lovins,  Amory Lovins, et al).  Each brought different experiences, different knowledge bases, different mindsets (e.g., architecture, law, environmentalists, chemistry, etc.), but each commonly promoted sustainable development. These team members are still thought as today’s thought leaders for transforming enterprises into new sustainability developed corporations.

In a recent LinkedIn discussion about “circular economy”, I made this comment: “The graphic is crisp, clean and tells an aspirational story, but I would have expected added thought / value from McKinsey. There are many models that have been developed over the last two decades and as you pointed out there are other references to a circular economy.”

The conversation did no reach a conclusion about the diagram, but my obvious problem with the diagram was twofold. First, it did not show how disruptive technology would be integrated tool formulating the solution for a  circular economy. Second, the ultimate goal for Sustainability is the elimination of wastes (e.g., emission: water, air, land). So why would landfills be noted?

McKinsey Global Institute discusses for “trend breakers” from the end of the 20th century to the beginning of the 21st century. In the 20th century, the great moderations (1980-2000) was based on demographics drove economic growth, capital was cheaper, resources were cheaper, government privatized and cut taxes, and each generation was better off than the previous. Trend breakers included: debt crisis, urbanization, aging and disruptive technologies (The term “disruptive technologies” was coined by Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen as the critical influence to innovation.)

As the Romans said; “Caveat emptor, Latin for ‘Let the buyer beware!’’ Be prepared and objective. Don’t accept web site “solutions” as the ultimate answer for your situation. In most cases, your environment is unique. Understand the basics and integrate your organizations strengths (e.g., commitment, change management, project management, LEED certified architects, IT specialists, etc.) to take advantage of opportunities and avoid the dangers. Be careful and understand what a diagram portrays, for it may not be the “silver bullet” you are looking for.

I would recommend reading Ray C. Anderson’s book, Mid-Course Correction, as I believe it laid out the foundation of Sustainability that is not too different today. When I taught a graduate class in Sustainability. I strongly recommended this reading to my students. Not only does Anderson identify areas of opportunity, but he visually represented an enterprise maturity model that could be overlaid in almost any enterprise. His vision and experience would be of interest to anyone who wants a better understanding of today’s consultants and their differing approaches.

My recommendation is to be educated about what Sustainability is. It is a shared value that considers business, environment and society. It is a long term mindset. It is best implemented by business, as government is often too slow and expensive to implement change. Include your stakeholders, for sharing sustainability objectives with your Customer, Supplier, etc., and it will ensure your corporate direction and provide them transparency as a tool for communication and negotiation.  (This approach was used as a mantra at Interface and leveraged by Walmart in its corporate transformation. All stakeholders need to be aware of the reasons for the transformation, its benefits and commitment by the company’s leadership.)

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Building a bridge to benefits thumbnail

Owners, Executive and other Leaders are investigating a global world concerned about Sustainability, that type of understanding can be difficult to obtain. In early December 2013, I published my second book entitled “Building a Bridge to Benefits”. If you are interested in reading about the book or want to purchase copies today, here is the link to CreateSpace, an Amazon company, go to: https://www.createspace.com/4532590
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Contact information and Services
A Certified Sustainability and Quality consultancy
•    Sustainability and Quality Consulting
•    Sustainability and Quality Workshops
•    Sustainability and Quality Speaking Engagements

Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC

Toll Free: (888) 743-3128
Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com

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“There’s an awful lot of talented people in this country and a lot of them put their own money into trying to break through. But because they haven’t got the knowledge or the business expertise to do it, they fail.” ~Steve Betts
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Originating from NSA and US military needs of analyzing a changing environment in today’s world, VUCA is a methodology that helps assess the environment. It is based on these four phases:

  • Volatility. The nature and dynamics of change, and the nature and speed of change forces and change catalysts.
  • Uncertainty. The lack of predictability, the prospects for surprise, and the sense of awareness and understanding of issues and events.
  • Complexity. The multiplex of forces, the confounding of issues and the chaos and confusion that surround an organization.
  • Ambiguity. The haziness of reality, the potential for misreads, and the mixed meanings of conditions; cause-and-effect confusion.

Understanding the VUCA World
September 16, 2013
Bob Johansen, of the Institute for the Future, with David Small, VP of Global Talent at McDonald’s Corporation, introduce the concept of the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) World, and the four strategies to counteract it.

Follow this link: http://www.cvdl.org/blog/understanding-vuca-world/
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Building a bridge to benefits thumbnail

Owners, Executive and other Leaders are investigating a global world concerned about Sustainability, that type of understanding can be difficult to obtain. In early December 2013, I published my second book entitled “Building a Bridge to Benefits”. If you are interested in reading about the book or want to purchase copies today, here is the link to CreateSpace, an Amazon company, go to: https://www.createspace.com/4532590
______________________________________

Contact information and Services
A Certified Sustainability and Quality consultancy
•    Sustainability and Quality Consulting
•    Sustainability and Quality Workshops
•    Sustainability and Quality Speaking Engagements

Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC
Toll Free: (888) 743-3128
Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com

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“Business as usual is dead. Green growth is the answer to both our climate and economic problems.” ~ Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, 2009
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Engagement is critical in transforming your organization into a Sustainability enterprise, albeit, it will take time, patience and learning from experiences from your people. Engage your employees and make all of your employees accountable. Strong cultures empower their people, they recognize their talents, and give them a very clear role with responsibilities they’re accountable for. General George S. Patton Jr. was interviewed and shared this thought; “Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” When these positive changes have been observed, its important to keep the momentum going and celebrate by:
•    Publicly recognizing their work
•    Monetary rewards (bonus, promotion, trips, etc.)
•    Just saying “thank you” also goes a long way

But, employee engagement is more than praise and recognition. It is enriching what your culture already possesses and builds on employee experience, education and personal responsibilities for the environment and social sectors. Sustainability’s future will be driven by a social business model influenced by economic, environmental, social issues, and swayed by generational mores.

This is an excerpt of my new book “Building a Bridge to Benefits”. Publication date is scheduled for November 2013 and is planned to be available on Amazon. More to come …
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Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC
Contact Information
Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Blog: http://horizons.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/corporatesocialresponsibility/

Lead Smart, Endless Opportunities when Sustainability is driven by Lean Six Sigma
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