This is a cross post from Ideaplants.org.
I just read an article on China Daily in which Marcos Fava Neves, professor of strategic planning and food chains at the School of Economics and Business, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, proposes to add another dimension to the model of sustainabiltiy. Normally we consider the economic, social and environmental perspective when assessing sustainability. Marcos Fava Neves proposes to add in the context of organizations that struggle to implement this concept as part of their planning and operations pro-activeness as an additional measure.
When reading the article I started wondering whether pro-activeness is really what we are missing. Companies do most of the time act in different ways. In my eyes the issue is rather a lack of ownership and leadership in the space of sustainability. In a traditional company structure sustainability is not assigned to any specific department and therefore it is unclear who should be taking the lead on this.
It’s not just about what you do but also about how you link individual activites. Ideally an organization has an overall sustainability strategy and links activites to this strategy with the aim to create one real and coherent sustainability story. Transparency and involvement of internal and external stakeholders is key here. This involves HR, marketing, business development, and many other divisions.
Getting everyone on board requires not just pro-activeness but also smart leadership.