Leveraging 'People' Power of Sustainability
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Linking future point of reference to the present wherein organizational dynamics wants to remain in the comfort and continuation of past is becoming exponentially challenging. As we progressively usher in the future new, our one dimensional economic world is transforming to a three-dimensional world of social and environmental reality: our business sustainability is one with sustainable development.
Single minded pursuit of economic and financial success is resulting in asymmetric impact locally and globally with ever increasing income disparity and wealth while having serious negative environmental and social impacts. With the increasing scale and volume of business at global level due to raising aspirations and population explosion, the negative impacts are so devastating that it can’t remain a side affairs of the business and political leaders. Innovations and development in technology and social developments and environmental necessity are effecting the business ecosystem and necessitating to create business strategies which have significant positive Social, Environmental and Economic (SEE) Impacts. We can’t operate in the realm of old industrial age unless business sustainability is not in the business agenda.
We do less harm, lesser harm or no harm is not sufficient. For example, Automotive Industry can’t sit on their laurels of producing better fuel efficient cars while we are choking cities with pollutants with very poor asset utilization. All stakeholders contribute to this mess actively or passively. However, for automotive business to survive in future, it has to take full responsibility to provide mobility at zero emission and redefine the business to mobility. Service based platforms for mobility will drive out product based present players. These platforms are going to have exponential and positive SEE impacts.
Now, with the responsibility of SEE Impacts squarely on leaders and businesses, we need to redefine our businesses wherein old market structure based on sectors and segments with product and service combo will not work. Each business has to pay for and be responsible for any negative impact. To start with, our business model has to start reflecting outcome based working and graduate to impact based working.
Government and other stakeholders need to work together for providing flexibility in leapfrogging to a new sustainable future.
A patch work of green and social work with a banner of CSR or a few years of philanthropy and donation is not going to work. Also, a mind-set and attitude of favor can’t provide enough motivation for the long haul. It’s a business imperative and a business need wherein a new business ecosystem is to be created by keeping sustainability at its core. This will help in designing future business model which can be sustained for a long time. The new galaxy will assert and define what would be our new planet earth!
The following five key strategies can be implemented
1. Provide adequate resources for the initiatives planned – it’s a marathon, a long-term but must also address the resource requirement in the short and medium term.
2. Innovation and collaboration for the common good through reducing consumption of natural resources
3. Engage all stakeholders and wider society through whole value chain/platform to effectively change way of life and imbibe holistic thinking to create a meaningful SEE Impacts.
4. Create a decision matrix for sourcing which considers SEE Impacts – obvious preference for local and from local
5. Assess your area of impact and influence (who all and where) commensurate with business sustainability goals
The scary Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous world will find solace in sustainability provided board room, employees, suppliers, customers, stakeholders; all engage and collaborate in every step of the journey till we have achieved a sustained positive impact.
The leadership will need more of an exemplary right brain engagement in an ever-connected world. Not by profit alone is going to be a very difficult mindset to adapt and will necessitate cooperation and collaboration across societies and nations. The solutions have to be for the billions and not confined to my country and my community. The future rogue nations will be also defined as the ones who do not believe and support a sustainable world. Also, the great leaders would be those with compassion and humility for the “others”.
Do we have a choice?!
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Hampson Industries Private Limited.