As unreasonable as big ideas seem sometime, they ultimately drive innovation and progress. Sure big ideas get criticized, but we need them. BIG ideas like this from Yvon Chouinard, Jib Ellison, and Rick Ridgeway to make the entire global economy environmentally conscious and sustainable, as published in their report, The Big Idea: The Sustainable Economy.
Here are a few highlights:
“No one these days seriously denies the need for sustainable business practices…”
“…Negative impacts of business activity continue to grow…”
“…The problem is simple. It’s generally cheaper to buy the product that has worse impact on its environment than the equivalent product that does less harm.”
“Higher costs to planet to does not translate to higher price to customers. Of course, this is due to the fact that businesses are rarely obliged to pay for the full toll their operations take on the world…”
“Sustainability as a firm’s most dependable route to financial high performance has always seemed beyond reach. But three trends are now combining with dramatic effect…”
- Values of environment are being quantified
- Socially responsible investing has matured
- Industries are rating products on sustainability
“This is not just aspirational talk; serious progress is being made”
“”…managing for greater sustainability can generate cost savings, but it can also identify and eliminate risks and create positive associations with a brand…”
“The Global Reporting Initiative, for example, has documents more than 200 valuable activities that sustainable companies undertake in four areas: Governance, Stakeholder Engagement, Disclosure, and Performance”.
“Companies taking the lead in environmental, social, and governance matters have better management teams”
“…today, nearly one in every eight investment dollars foes to a company that qualifies as a socially responsible investment”
“A company committed to sustainability but working unilaterally can accomplish only so much. If you really want to make a different, work together with your partners and competitors to develop a value chain index (VCI).”
“The global population is projected to grow from 6.9 billion people to perhaps 9 billion by 2060. Even if we only want things to stay the same, practices must change.
“Progress in each area spurs progress in the others, with the result that the long-sought alignment of a firm’s prosperity with the best interests of the planet seems not only possible but inevitable”
It’s a great, though longer, article. You can red the full reprint from Harvard Business Review here: The Big Idea: The Sustainable Economy. You should also check out the podcast: http://hbr.org/2011/10/the-sustainable-economy/ar/1.
What do you think… what else is needed to build a sustainable economy?