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Home » Business

Teen Sex and Corporate Sustainability

Submitted by on July 2, 2010 – 8:16 pm

Marc Gunther tells a joke comparing corporate sustainability and teen sex – you can find his original article here. The joke goes:

“Corporate sustainability is like teen sex. Everybody talks about it. Nobody does it very much. And when they do it, they don’t do it very well.”

So why is it that few companies “do” sustainability well? The entry points into sustainability seem (to me) to be simply good business practice. One focus, for example, is on managing resources efficiently, whether that be energy, people or other raw material inputs. How many businesses would argue that managing costs is of no concern?

Another is being a responsible citizen (for example, taking care of your waste outputs by either reducing or eliminating them). And in these days of social media, whereby a product or brand can be (and have been) slated by their consumers, causing significant impact on sales – why wouldn’t a business want to be seen to be doing “the right thing”.

Perhaps it’s the label – “sustainability” – that causes business managers to shy away. Maybe it seems too esoteric, or tree-hugging, not related to the hard day-to-day problems that concern them. Such as where their next sale is going to come from, or how to keep their costs down…

Many companies seem to see sustainability as something else that they have to do – rather than it being part of who they are and how they operate. And because that something else isn’t part of the core business – guess what? It either doesn’t get done, or where it is done, it’s done poorly.

I would argue that the reverse is actually true. That consideration of sustainability in company operations is integral to the long term survivability of an organisation.

In today’s markets with today’s networked customers, a company that considers sustainability as an integral part of their operations is a company with an exciting future.

About David Laing

I run my own business, Sustained Consulting, which is focused on helping businesses to behave more sustainably.  I have an MBA, and fifteen years of leadership experience.  Amongst others, I’ve worked in a mining consultancy (!), for a software vendor, and for large technology services providers. 
I’m passionate about sustainability and climate change, and in 2009 decided it was time for me to take a more proactive role, and to help businesses become more sustainable.
I’m involved with a range of different activities and projects.  Amongst other things I’m:
*  helping to develop a voluntary carbon market in New Zealand,
*  developing sustainability reports
*  developing a number of waste to energy projects,
*  leading community projects (community garden, saving the local bowling club from property developers,

*  reinstating civil defence)
* resurrecting a second-hand solar panel (personal project)
and other things which I’ll tell you about later
I have a wealth of eclectic knowledge and experience, read widely and I enjoy making connections between different ideas and concepts.

Email me: davidalaing@gmail.com

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