In his 2008 book, Necessary Revolution: How Individuals and Organizations are Working Together to Create a Sustainable World, Senge and his team at the Society for Organizational Learning, discuss the importance of creating a sustainable world. Several large businesses, including GE, Nike, Alcoa, Costco and Dupont, among others, partnered with non-profits to develop and in many cases redesign their supply chains and product lines to maximize efficiency, reduce water consumption, or minimize waste. All of these measures have the added effect of saving money and adding to the bottom line, allowing companies to maximize profits while becoming industry leaders. Many examples start with a single individual, such as Per Carstedt and his vision of a “green zone” wherein businesses work together to conserve energy usage. Another pertinent example relates the synergistic relationship between Coca-Cola and formerly adversarial non-profit World Wildlife Fund who, working in conjunction, preserved watersheds around manufacturing and bottling plants. Senge and his team provide a number of helpful ideas to starting the conversation in a productive, non-threatening manner. Their work is insightful and the read is worthwhile.
From their website (and book), here are the 7 reasons why any business will benefit from making a change to sustainable business practices:
1. There is significant money to be saved.
2. There is significant money to be made.
3. You can provide your customers with a competitive edge.
4. Sustainability is a point of differentiation.
5. You can shape the future of your industry.
6. You can become a preferred supplier.
7. You can change your image and brand.