Sustainability is a powerful word that produces mental images. Sustainability is a word of significance that promotes imagery of green, systems and emissions and long-term thinking. As I reported in August 2013 the need for sustainability remains just as relevant today as then and increasingly more vital to organizations and institutions to support short and long-term compliance, change and growth.
Often sustainability is driven by sustainable thinkers. In order to promote guidelines and regulations the top or head must drive directives. This is not simple but required to manage the future. Remember 2008’s economic meltdown. This catastrophe was an indictment of low sustainable thinking deriving a cascade of failures impacting the next ten years of growth. I can say that some elements of that cascade remain today. So some leaders have made recommendations to support sustainability. Some organizations have taken the position to place sustainable directors at the helm and support of COO’s but often they are not at the executive level to drive information to the CEO and/or Directors. Other organizations have combined sustainability and diversity. The integration is a simple and elegant solution to cut costs but the focus on each sector is differentiated and can be at cross purposes- one head and two roles.
The ability to lead sustainable efforts and drive a 360 degree, net zero waste and emissions program is complex and advantageous for managing change within the organization’s actions. Sustainability is not just waste or emissions but how to solve problems in a complex world that do not create a daisy chain of failures.
As the shift grows to artificial intelligence and analytics there is a prevalent focus on organizations and people to optimize infrastructure and systems.
There is no other time in our history that has produced such a nexus of events including autonomous cars, education, economics, innovation, business, health care, social justice, technology and leadership than today.
In every century it can be said that today we are making history placing the work of the past significantly behind the visionaries of that era. Sustainability is the work of the past and the present to secure the future. This understanding of tomorrow shifts sustainability in direct line of thinking to embrace technology, innovation, energy and globalization as hallmarks of the age while steadfastly moving forward considering people, places and things as relevant to the outcomes pursued.
The work of globalization is not as past explorers but understanding synthesized economies that are pegged to one another through dynamic markets, environments and actions that push the boundaries of traditional thinking. Further, globalization implores a diverse mindset to include cultures that were not directly considered as vital to economic change and capacity. Today, cultures and varied economies are vital to understanding climate change, energy, sustainability and technology impact on socialization. The confluence of these actions and moving parts is the recipe for sustainability thinking.
Thinking Deeper on Sustainability.
- Sustainability is only for energy and environmental solutions. Sustainability is a process for capturing all internal and external resources for optimization. Organizations can limit sustainability to energy, energy efficiency, environment, carbon capture, emissions but more so, sustainability distills down the simplest node of an organization for effectiveness. It is necessary to remember the role of people in the sustainable process.
- Sustainability is perceived as a big or large organizational construct. Sustainability can be used by a one man shop or a transnational corporation. The differences are represented by their ecosystem(s) and supply chains. Sustainability identifies stakeholders, ecosystem and supply chains across platforms, systems and processes for a new lens to durability, longevity and profitability.
- Sustainability is for people who believe in green. Sustainability are for people who believe in considering tomorrow in their present operations. If you as a leader have an organization that you consider only today and tomorrow. You may become non relevant tomorrow. Relevancy is for sustainability thinkers. Sustainability is a working mechanism aggregating and defining elegant solutions that embrace all levels of economics, education and cultures.