“Break on through to the Other Side” sang Jim Morrison in the Doors way back in the 60s.
Listening again recently started me thinking of how ‘sustainability’ could be ‘breaking through to the other side’ … to a time / place where sustainability and CSR is the norm rather than something we strive for.
This, however, begs a number of tricky questions and answers
Just what does sustainability and social responsibility really look like? When or how will we know we have arrived? What exactly do we have to ‘break through’? What is the tipping point?
What we should find really exciting is that we dont really know, we dont know where the boundary or tipping point is. Where, what or indeed how far we need to push. Are we nearly there or light years away? This makes sustainability an adventure and exploration.
And of course many argue, quite rightly, that sustainability is a journey not a destination or a state of business.
A tipping point may well come when organisations move across a rubicon, from trying to do good whilst making a profit, to making a profit from doing good. (I am reminded here again of Yvon Chouinard at Patagonia “every time we do the right thing for the environment we make a profit”)
Have we made sustainability and CSR too intellectual? I fear so. Is it now far too embedded in checklists, processes and systems. We have lost connection with the natural world, with planet earth, the very reason we need sustainability, resilience and CSR?
Perhaps the tipping point to breaking through to the other side is re-igniting this connection, where we dont need a tag, or a label, but doing the right thing as an organisation or individual is the norm and ‘feels’ right, rather than something we do because we are encouraged, nudged or told to do.
Through fairsnape, organisations are supported in understanding their Route to Zero, where zero is a target, the route the more important, and supported in breaking through barriers.
And a thought for the built environment in 2012… what do you see as the sustainability boundaries that we need to break through and move beyond?