Sustainability, Know when to Call the Man.

auntbeaOne of my favorite television programs is the Andy Griffith Show, and one of my all time favorite episodes is “Bargain Day”, or as some refer to it, the “Call the Man” episode. In the episode Aunt Bee, searching for a bargain,  buys 150 pounds of meat from the new butcher in town only to have her freezer go on the fritz! I love this episode so much that I designed a training class around it.

So now you’re wondering how in the world does Andy Griffith fit into business, sustainability or strategy?!? Continue reading

Sustainability – Linear versus Circular Economic Model

garbage canGrowing up in the United States I’ve heard America referred to as “The Land of Plenty” or “The Disposable Society”. The quote “Go West young man” was often said to me as a young man, maybe jokingly or perhaps they were serious, while I was wondering what to do as I grew up. (And before you email, yes, the quote first appeared as the title to the 1851, Terre Haute Express editorial written by Mr. Soule and is often credited to Mr. Greeley.)

These expressions implied to me that we were living in a limitless country. Free to use what we wanted, expand as we wanted with no thought to where the next supply of “stuff” was coming from. Continue reading

Greenwashing

greenwash“Green is the new black”, “It’s not easy being green” or “Clean and Green” take your pick. It seems like we have an abundant supply of green marketing slogans and they get the mainstream press. I guess it makes sense, they are marketing materials and companies are paying big bucks to get their message heard above everyone else’s. I think that this may also be one of the reasons why so many people only view sustainable development as a marketing activity. There is even a website that is dedicated to evaluating green advertising, greenwashingindex.com.

So, what is greenwashing? Continue reading

Why Such a Fuss?

Herman Daly

Herman Daly

So, why all of the fuss now over this thing called sustainability? You hear it everywhere, people are talking about it at meetings and conferences are being held in its name. What was the tipping point that brought this concept to mainstream America. I’ve heard it described as the perfect storm; Katrina, Al Gore’s Oscar and then the Nobel Peace Prize.

This may have given the environmental issues of the planet press coverage, but what about the Social and the Financial aspects? What caused them to be pushed to the boardroom and news desk? Asked another way, have the Social and Financial aspects been pushed to the forefront? Continue reading

Sustainability, a Competitive Business Strategy

strategyFor years we in the business world have had an adversarial relationship with the environment. Think about it, we even call it Environmental Compliance. Compliance, doesn’t that mean that we are meeting the established rules. We saw it as a cost of doing business, something that we had to do. We didn’t look at it as a possible area of differentiation, innovation or cost reduction. It was just a problem child that we had to deal with. Continue reading

What is Sustainability?

Mark HarmonWhat is sustainability? That’s a question that I get asked over and over. When I’m asked that, I want to give them a good-old Jethro Gibbs whack to the back of their head. You know the one I’m talking about. Mark Harmon, NCIS, whacking Tony on the back of  his head whenever he says or does something stupid.

Yes, I know. I can’t walk around whacking people on the back of the head. Not really a sustainable activity for long-term employment.

So let’s start here: Continue reading

Persuasive Sustainability

david

“If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think.” – David Ogilvy

Last week I was at a conference and I was asked what was one of the main things I would suggest that people do when they start talking about sustainability initiatives. I think I surprised everyone with my answer. I got the impression that they were looking for some deep insight that would part the murky sea of sustainability. I told the moderator that I would recommend that they talk about sustainability in the same language that their coworkers and managers used. Continue reading

Seed of Sustainability, or Just a good memory

StorytellingOk, so what does a movie have to do with the “Seed of Sustainability”? That’s the question that I got after my last post. It is a simple answer really, Storytelling!

Remember, we had done the corporate speak, we had our crisp and clean PowerPoints and pages of statistics and we had gotten no where. What I had forgotten was that I still had to persuade the audience to allow me to move forward. I had to get them to relate to what I was telling them and to make my information their information. Continue reading