Sustainability is a creative enterprise that goes far beyond token environmental concern. Sustainability is about more than just minimizing egregious environmental and social impacts. As we head towards a global climate agreement at the end of 2015, companies must find the equilibrium between sustainability and economic growth. This means they must take the long view on a wide range or issues. The ways that these issues are addressed must be adapted to meet individual realities of each enterprise.
While climate change causing carbon emissions are an overarching concern, organizations must also consider a host of other factors including their demand on resources. Right now we are using almost twice the amount of resources that the earth is capable of producing. Our current trajectory ensures that we will run out of raw materials and looming resource scarcity represents a serious business risk.
It is becoming clear that sustainability is not only a matter of establishing a competitive advantage it is rapidly becoming the new normal. The new standard is about efficiency on every level.
Business models must be streamlined to reflect this new normal. Creatively incorporating ongoing environmental and social improvements into products, technologies, and processes is key.
Becoming sustainable is a challenging multi-stage process. It starts with an assessment, then based on this evaluation a strategy is put in place for things like sourcing, purchasing, manufacturing, warehousing, shipping, recycling and waste disposal.
Once a sustainability strategy is established the process must be continually refined and improved. How an organization achieves ongoing environmental and social engagement requires creativity and innovation.
Creative innovation involves thinking outside the box. This should take into account organizational concerns, the goal of the effort and impediments to implementation.