The latest creative strategies and tools helping organizations to engage their teams in building market-leading, purpose-driven brands.
Think back to when you were a child daydreaming about what you wanted to be as an adult. Did you imagine dancing across stages as a ballerina? Flying into space as an astronaut? When I was little, I daydreamed about becoming a best-selling author, just like my idols Beverly Cleary and Roald Dahl. Generally, children don’t daydream about their actual future careers - as accountants, operations managers, marketing executives or business leaders. I personally never daydreamed about becoming a communications consultant!
What makes these youthful daydreams about “when I grow up” different? They are purely purpose-focused. We imagine realizing our dreams – as performers or trailblazers – and in those imaginings, feel fulfilled.
In our previous post, on supporting your CEO, we discussed some tactics sustainability change agents can employ to help shape their CEO’s decision making on sustainability. We were also curious to know what these CEOs thought about the personal characteristics of effective change agents. One theme that emerged from our conversations with over 100 CEOs, board members, and sustainability executives from a range of global companies was knowing how to challenge your CEO while keeping your passion in check.
SB’16 San Diego kicked off strong with a morning workshop led by Kevin Wilhelm - CEO of Sustainable Business Consulting - and Kevin Hagen, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Iron Mountain. Together, they have created the Hagen-Wilhelm Matrix – a tool to help organizations not only identify what phase of sustainability they are in but how to advance their organization forward. This matrix moves away from linear sustainability phases offered by other models that map organizations’ sustainability journeys.
“Our goal is to make the intangible tangible, which is what we have to do with culture,” said Pamela Wilhelms, founder of Wilhelms Consulting Group, during a Monday workshop at SB'16 San Diego.
The workshop, “Understanding and Measuring Cultural and Systems-Change Dimensions within Companies,” focused on how forward-thinking companies can initiate cultural shifts toward sustainability — and how to measure success.
As the world moves toward a more sustainable economy, leading brands will be those capable of identifying and measuring healthy cultural dynamics. But culture often is too subjective and intangible to measure.
Two-thirds of U.S. employees feel their work and personal life are becoming increasingly blended and nearly all (93 percent) want to work for a company that cares about them as an individual, according to the 2016 Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study. The study reveals an increased expectation for companies to provide not only basic benefits but also ones that allow employees to bring their passions for social and environmental issues to the workplace.
Organizations across the globe are becoming increasingly focused on delivering sustainable products and services to their customer base as a way to limit their environmental footprint and to create a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Though these are good policies, truly sustainable business is not simply an external matter, in the sense of producing and delivering responsibly produced offerings to markets. It is also very much an internal matter, in the sense of encouraging sustainable behaviour within the organization.
In 1997, biologist Janine Benyus popularized the term “biomimicry,” with her groundbreaking book of the same name, and spearheaded the growth of the discipline dedicated to applying Nature’s designs and processes to create a healthier, more sustainable world. I recently spoke with Janine about some of her favorite biomimetic innovations, about asking more from our design interventions, and some of the yet untapped areas in which Nature’s genius could help solve our most intractable problems.
The recent launch of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the commitment last month of over 170 countries to the Paris climate agreement illustrate global consensus regarding the sustainability issues we need to tackle to put society and the planet on a secure path.
It was the mid-‘90s. The Board of Directors at Vancity – a large regional financial institution based in Vancouver, Canada – was struggling to get management’s attention on its social purpose agenda. I and the other directors believed that marrying social goals with the company’s business could create a powerful vehicle for regional prosperity: attract customers, become a force for social progress and build business. The impasse continued until our Board identified a key leverage point: incorporating our social business objectives into the CEO’s incentive pay. That turned out to be the difference-maker.
There’s an urgent challenge for human resources leaders: Ensuring their organizations anticipate and prepare for the inevitable effects of sustainability mega-forces. As globalization, shifting demographics and competition for the world’s depleting resources compel transformational change, companies will need enlightened and sustainability-savvy leadership to thrive in this brave new world. HR has a significant role to play to align talent with these emerging realities.
Home improvement company Kingfisher, which owns retail chains B&Q, Castorama, Brico Depot, Screwfix and Koçtaş, is undergoing major changes within its sustainability team, reports edie. Rather than reporting to a sustainability director, Kingfisher’s sustainability team is now managed alongside its customer insights, corporate affairs and external communications divisions under the company’s newly-appointed Chief Customer Officer, Pierre Woreczek.
A new UN-backed initiative is enlisting the help of female execs across the world to bring climate change concerns into boardrooms.
Ford Motor Company today announced plans to transform its Dearborn facilities into a modern, sustainable, high-tech campus to foster innovation and help drive the company’s transition beyond mere automaker to a mobility company.
The 10-year transformation of the company’s more than 60-year-old Dearborn facilities will co-locate 30,000 employees from 70 buildings today into primarily two locations — a product campus and a world headquarters campus. More than 7.5 million square feet of workspace will be rebuilt and upgraded into even more technology-enabled and connected facilities.
In my previous article I examined the challenge of developing our authentic purpose. In this article I would like to explain a little about how we can approach authentic purpose with a view to helping businesses and organisations make the leap from developing sustainable technology to achieving sustainable human evolution.
A few months back, I led a panel at the annual Points of Light conference in Houston, TX, where we discussed some very important topics along with one very small word: “and.” As in, how to bring credibility and sustainability to a company’s purpose, or how to connect strategies, concepts and people.
When it comes to sustainability reporting, companies may feel like they’re in an increasingly uncomfortable public-private vice. On one side, consumers and shareholders are pressuring organizations to be better corporate citizens and increase transparency. Governments are establishing more reporting requirements as well, which will inevitably multiply through initiatives such as the recent Sustainable Innovation Forum at COP21.
…or should the role be replaced by a ‘Chief Value Officer,’ as suggested by Marga Hoek in her new book, New Economy Business? A CVO role would focus on broader value creation and is responsible for integrated reporting and integrated thinking within the organization.
Many voices are suggesting we rethink our form of capitalism, and in this wake the groundswell for the topic of Integrated Reporting as proxy for Integrated Thinking is ever increasing, and new momentum was added in recent weeks:
Larry Fink — CEO, Blackrock — world's largest asset management company
‘Forced labour affects roughly 21 million people around the globe, of whom 68% are exploited for private economic gain.’
These chastening figures, produced by the International Labour Organisation, are spurring governments around the world to bring in tough new measures to deal with this $150 billion industry.
When Leonardo DiCaprio channeled his long-awaited Oscars acceptance speech last weekend into an urgent call to climate action, it represented something of a defining moment. In just 60 seconds, he effortlessly pushed the emerging concept of ‘society as stakeholder’ into the media spotlight, forcing more than 34 million viewers to take note.
What if the celebrities on the red carpet were asked questions such as “What is your purpose?” instead of “Who are you wearing?” PwC wants to find out. A partner in tallying the Oscar ballots and delivering the results on the big night, PwC aims to rethink the role of the red carpet.