Redbean - Australia’s change of government and its intention to immediately ratify the Kyoto protocol will leave only the US Government still in the dark (pun intended) on matters of climate change. Yet elsewhere in the USA much action towards sustainability is already in progress. Not the least in the business sector.
Recently in San Francisco I attended the “Designing a Sustainable Future” conference where over 1350 businesses, non-profits and government leaders from nearly 50 countries gathered. This, the largest conference of its kind, reflected examples of sustainability in practice and served as a catalyst for new ideas and initiatives.
What is a sustainable business? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Isn’t business designed to encourage blind consumerism beyond our daily needs? Well certainly the business models of many of the world’s dinosaurs is still predicated around unbridled growth. Yet equally, many are finding both a better future and more business in sustained growth, environmental innovation and corporate social responsibility (CSR). In between are the conmen, shysters and straight out frauds who partake in greenwashing - the practice of companies and governments which advertise positive environmental practices while actually acting in the opposite manner.
I personally see this push to make business, and all human activity, sustainable as a dawning of a new era of intelligent innovation as humans combine, across borders and old divides, to tackle perhaps one of their greatest challenges. The opportunities will be enormous for those smart businesses that can take advantage of the changes. And when seeking those opportunities it may be worthwhile asking this question: is this actually about changing the planet or is it about changing us? Hmmmmmm. I’ll just slip into my saffron robes…
For a good overview on what business is currently doing and what you can do to go beyond greenwashing here is a worthwhile article: