April 22 was Earth Day. No doubt you saw too many articles pushing for “green” this and “green” that. The planet is sick and coming to an end. Blah blah blah.
The environmentalist’s approach to catalyzing action is now akin to barking up the wrong tree. We shouldn’t be seen as preaching or preachers. We shouldn’t be talking to and writing for each other’s edification. Instead we should be translating Earth Day into action items that matter to legislators, to neighbors, and to business leaders.
April is Earth Month, and April 22 Earth Day. We should really celebrate our small blue planet and all it provides every day, but recent events give us particular cause to reflect on our home and how we’re treating it.
There’s no excuse to keep on destroying our home. If we are to observe Earth Day and Earth Month, let’s make it a time to celebrate, not to despair.
What do executives have in common with school kids? They both can be pretty picky says Laura Vanderkam, as outlined in the Fast Company article 6 Quick Lessons from the School Lunch Line for Pleasing Picky Customers. According to Jennifer Woofter, these helpful tips can also be applied to sustainability efforts when trying to convince executives to green-light a project. My team has taken the article’s six lessons which are listed below and added our own commentary.
School kids and executives aren’t so different, according to Laura Vanderkam
When I was a director of a financial institution in the 1990s, we struggled in vain to get top executives to pay attention to the Board’s sustainability priorities. To no avail. Then we stumbled upon the idea of rewarding the CEO for long-term sustainability performance. The result? We saw a dramatic improvement in the company’s sustainability performance from then on (financial performance, too!). Once we realized the impact of this simple measure, the board quickly embedded the principle in its compensation philosophy, which, in turn, spread the concept throughout the management ranks.
This series of posts, entitled Sustainability-driven Collaboration builds on lessons learned over years of sustainability-driven transformational change efforts at the organization level and explores the value they can bring to multi-stakeholder collaboration.
In their March 2013 post to the Harvard Business Review Blog, Paul Ellingstad and Charmian Love pointedly asked the question,Is Collaboration the new Greenwashing? This attention-grabbing title resonates strongly because of the ubiquitous use of the term collaboration in the past few years, particularly with the rise of concepts such as “Shared Value” in the business community and “Collective Impact” in the not-for-profit world. Those of us who have worked in the sustainability and social change space for some time are well aware of how easily means can be confused for ends, how often talk has been confused for action, and the difficulty of achieving transformational rather than incremental improvements.
Also posted in Business and Sustainability, CSR in Canada, Leadership, The Natural Step, Thought Leader Tagged Chad Park, collaboration, Leverage Points, Sustainability Transition Lab, systemic change, systems thinking, The Natural Step, the necessary revolution, transformational change