CEO of innovate2zero Horizons Ltd, founder of SUSTHUB
sustainability : strategy : innovation
I am particularly drawn to the word LEGACY. It is a fantastic word. On a personal level – What will be my legacy? What do I want to be remembered for – in life, in business? What was my impact on my peers and colleagues, on customers and friends? How were my values and principles manifested over my lifetime? What footprints will I leave behind?
What will our legacy be? As business leaders – those that can influence the future of our business and its impact on our immediate society. In a recent workshop we explored with the attendees asking the question “In relation to your workplace becoming more ‘socially responsible or society centric’ what does that mean to you?”
There were many responses and insightful conversations had. One key comment that struck home to me was –
“We take responsibility for our impact on society”
This statement in itself met each of the five principles that define sustainability. They embrace both the social and environmental aspects of sustainability. These are
We are responsible as organisations, as employees, as human beings. We all play a role. We must make a commitment and be accountable. Our decision making and ethics are built on these fundamental principles. Let us not forget, we are still a business and need to drive value but there will be new metrics – not just shareholder value, revenue growth, but value for all stakeholders in our value chain.
It is perfectly acceptable to generate economic prosperity, as this enables us to have viable and secure businesses and provide employment. However, in our decision making and strategies we need consider the social and ecological equity. We are no longer isolated, operating independently in our own bubble. We form part of an interconnected whole – an ecosystem. What is our first order thinking? If I do this what will the immediate outcome be. But then what and then what? This is second order thinking. It forms the basis of Systems Thinking and Design Strategy. These need to become our mindset and toolkit as we look to design the solutions that matter – as “we take responsibility for our impact on society”.
We are not all in the same boat but we are all in the same storm
In the immediate term, with the current pandemic changing how we live, make, consume and engage a new program for Government in Ireland and beyond is needed. Is there a new dawn? Will we grasp this opportunity and truly embrace sustainability for real long term change? Or are we doomed to repeat the sins of the fathers. Will we go backwards as the world goes forward?
We are all learning. Adapting. Modifying our ways. Some are more advanced than others. How do we learn? Who is leading the way, creating the best practices? Are you? Is your organisation? These are all really important questions to consider as we move forward as organisations, as employees and as human beings.
Dr Declan Bogan,