Leadership Blog

Motherhood, Apple Pie, and Sustainability!

Posted on April 14, 2015 | in Sustainability | by

Like motherhood and apple pie, Sustainability has become a part of America’s fabric.  Of course we’re all in, …up front at least!

Yet, bridging the words and speech of Sustainability to the essential truths and actions to make it happen can be more elusive. Leaders may know “what” they need to do, but the “how” is not as evident. Others even mock Sustainability as the “flavor of the day.” To build the critical mass of support, leaders must increase the understanding that the need for action is real, for short-term, and long-term.

Objective and subjective evidence abounds of deteriorating environmental conditions. Consider just a few serious examples such as the large plastic gyres in the ocean, increasing climate temperatures, health related illnesses, and water shortages. With all the facts, some can’t understand why the naysayers don’t “get it.” Some naysayers think people are “crying wolf.” Others feel that the task of making a discernible difference is beyond their reach. Some even feel it is hopeless. Others hope someone else will fix it. Yet, almost everyone will automatically stand up and pledge allegiance to the planet for Sustainability. This allegiance must be turned into personal actions that make quantifiable and qualifiable differences. It’s not rocket science, but it requires focus, hard work, and teamwork.

While the long-term benefits of Sustainability relate directly to future generations, the short-term benefits that can be realized today are being sorely overlooked; namely, huge cost savings! My experiences reveal that a Zero Landfill Initiative in manufacturing generates five to ten times more savings through improved rigorous waste management than it does through reduced landfill haul costs. Understanding that Sustainability and financial gains are mutually inclusive can help generate immediate action! Plus, the positive environmental effect is long-term and dramatic.

Like motherhood and apple pie, we all embrace Sustainability. After the “talk,” we must personally “go do” and make Sustainability happen. No one super-sustainability hero can save the world from all our environmental sins. The call for a leader to engage Sustainability is more than a call to arms, rather it is a call to personally be in the middle of the action, managing your teams to reduce, reuse, recycle, and repurpose. Engaging Sustainability is personal. My family’s future well-being is at risk! So is yours! Make Sustainability happen, in your personal words AND actions.

USZWBC Zero Waste Conference ALERT: Register soon for The US Zero Waste Business Council’s 4th Annual Conference being held May 5 through 7.  This is a great gathering of leaders and Sustainability professionals who will be sharing actions, ideas, and best practices in getting to Zero Waste. To learn more and register, check it out at www.uszwbc.org, or visit Elemental Impact at www.elementalimpact.org.
I will be there and I hope you are too.

…And Pass It On!

Quote from Leonardo da Vinci: “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do”.

Next week’s FrontLine Focus, more on “what” and “how.”

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